Meditations & Observations : First & Last Newsletter of 2018

2018, DONE. LET’S GO 2019!

What is done is done. Let us move forward.

Sending this on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all who have joined me, who are joining me and will join me.

I mostly use these holiday times for self reflection and goal setting.

I have a set of rituals that I use to mark the passage of these milestones, over time these rituals get optimised and others get opted out of such as shaving my head and doing vast amounts of psychedelics, the heuristic i use is : use what is useful. In this case I find forcing myself, a forward looking and pragmatic person, to reflect still a useful ritual, although I find modern society too held in the past.

One way this manifests is through my letter to myself which I published especially for this newsletter. see link here : https://medium.com/@zhul/meditations-observations-on-my-2018-4f9f0aeaaa4c

I will use my first newsletter to talk about the future, in contrast to the letter to myself.

Thanks to a tweet I put out to ask whether anyone wants to join a chat based on memetics, over 200 people responded. We have through that initial chat set up a think tank called : The M.A.D.R.U. Memetics & Abstraction Decentralised Research Unit. The goals of which aim to further develop the field of memetics and abstraction, one of our immediate projects is to develop our repository of knowledge on both, through a wiki and research papers.

Learn more about The M.A.D.R.U. here : https://discord.gg/jS5Wx5v

What is keeping me busy this holiday ?

I accepted an e-book challenge, within a week or so, write an ebook. I am on track, 9k words so far. I aim to set release within first week of January, with some days for editing.

The book I have aimed to consist of something akin of theory fiction, where it is an amalgamation of different styles and purposes of two or more texts. However this will be more a intertwined practical guide on learning and autodidactism and a very long philosophical essay and inquiry into the mythic figure of Faust.

Feel free to share and tell your friends. You could have alternatively read this a long time ago on my newsletter

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YANG GANG BANG

Or Don’t Spend Your UBI On VR Porn!

Being British, the only stake I can reasonably hold in American politics is as a bemused observer (or perhaps a dissatisfied subject of a soft-power empire). Regardless, I have been keeping an eye on one Democratic candidate, Andrew Yang, for the past half year or so. I always had a hunch that his radical stance on UBI would make waves, but the way in which this happened has surprised even me. Who could have predicted that the same grassroots online base of young men who helped buoy Donald Trump to power would now rally behind a Democrat whose policies appear to border socialism?

If one is to look at the wave of pop-art that has been produced at a fever pitch in the past few weeks, the first impression one might have is of an essentially nihilistic impetus; ‘the world is going to shit no matter what we do, Trump has failed to be the change he said he’d be, might as well get a grand a month for my troubles’. The blackpill philosophy has been spreading among young men like mould across a rotting fruit, as we cling to a world that all available evidence indicates is choking on our excess and the only means of supporting oneself is in working for one of those responsible for that excess.

What is remarkable, however, is that these ostensibly hopeless young men are finding a home in support for a candidate whose entire platform appears to be built around a message of hope. Not hope in the sense that Obama projected, platitudinous and vague, nor hope in the sense Trump projected, spectacular and focused on past glories; but hope in the sense of a tangible change in how the state is organized to confront the problems that are knocking on the door, and the ones waiting in line behind them.

Consider his campaign slogan; Humanity First.

Evident and obvious are the humanist underpinnings, but First? First against what? Other animals, plants, the wind? No, we should understand the more foreboding element here, something scarcely thought about in the minds of voters; humanity must be first in its relationship with technology. Less subtle references to this theme have led other political movements to be seen as Luddites (a group laden with an entirely unfair reputation) or ecoterrorists in the vein of Ted Kaczynski. What is different about Yang? Other than an amenable character, an attempt to broach realistic solutions to the problems that technological advance represents.

In this we can say there is a dialectic between Yang and his supporters. His supporters have the pretence of hopelessness and pure self-interest as primary motive for supporting him. He runs on a platform of providing hope by creating an actively altruistic state. The resultant synthesis will be interesting to see, utilizing the selfish nature of the base to divert their actions towards selfless goals — but the essential question is whether this synthesis will weaken his campaign in the long run.

We must remember; the partisan politics of the USA, especially in presidential elections, have anathema towards any candidate who proposes radical change, especially when that candidate appears to lack outward ego drive. Couple this with the easily weaponized threats which could come from both within and without. The Democrats who have an interest in maintaining the status quo of party structure to protect their own careers will be quick to leap upon this newfound voter base as evidence that Yang is nothing more than a soft-spoken Trump. The Republicans will likely compare his UBI plan to welfare (despite it being a far more tenable plan, long-term), and make character judgements on those invested in it as lazy and useless. However, there is a way around this.

Build meaning! Self-actualize!

A boon of $1000 a month, regularly, could make a huge difference in who you are and how you live. Hopelessness is tempting but recognize the opportunity you may be afforded. Work towards doing something useful with this, and I don’t just mean materially, but spiritually and communally also. A group of ten young men, saving just half of this money a month, could rent the space for a community centre, using the financial independence it engenders to self-direct the course and running of that centre. Far from fostering dependence on the state, the savvy mind could utilize this as a step away from dependence.

On the individual level, one could purchase creative equipment or patronize independent artists, one could purchase exercise equipment, one could save the money to travel to new places in a capacity beyond a vacation — one could use this opportunity to enrich their soul.

If you want that $1000, you need to make it worthwhile. You need to prove the detractors and naysayers wrong in thinking this would be merely fund a lifestyle of pornography, uselessness, and rank hedonism. It needs to be shown that this is an opportunity to raise the cultural standards and quality of life of people across the country.

I must admit, though I would like Yang to win, I am currently doubtful of his chances. What is needed is a willingness of the support base to change; to recognize that nothing can be built on foundations of sand, that nihil is the enemy. Show the world what you’re made of! Do not waste this golden opportunity!

Bring to life the words of the eternal Australian prophet Zyzz; the mantra must come true — ” We’re all gonna make it brah.”

Call to action!

By H.E Donist.

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The Devils Greatest Trick : The Mirror.

Some say the greatest trick that the devil had ever pulled was convincing the entire world that he did not exist, but that is not strictly true. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was creating, a mirror of himself, the devil’s mirror. Let us, for now for the sake of argument, just assume for a minute that it is most absolutely certain that God created this universe and that some of his most important angels became fallen & turned into the devil and the demons.

God, after angels, and then demons, then created man. The story of Adam & Eve is well documented. It is known that the devil seduced Eve to eat the apple from the tree of knowledge of good & evil, & then they say the rest is history, after this event, mankind was thus thrown out of paradise by God and into the earth.

But is that really how it went?

See, throughout history, there have been two main forms of religions. Those that tell man they should try to become Gods themselves, and those that tell man to remain a humble servant. The old Greeks had a story that best exemplifies this.

A reflection.

Prometheus.

The story of Prometheus is a old greek tale that touches on stealing fire. Prometheus was a mythical giant that saw how early humanity was weak and suffering greatly, so he stole the secret of fire from the Gods and gave it to mankind, that subsequently learned how to use it to master metallurgy & thus become the rulers of the world.

Prometheus was then given an eternal punishment by the Gods because mankind wasn’t supposed to reach enlightenment & independence from the Gods. Eventually he was liberated by Hercules, who was a demi-God himself. There is a deeper message in this story, as it was Zeus who had ordered Prometheus to be tied to the mountain of his punishment, it was Zeus’ own son that liberated Prometheus.

However in a way, Hercules was as much Prometheus’ son as he was Zeus’. For Hercules was also half human, and thus a child of fire. Zeus and Prometheus are what God and the devil are in Christianity. One of them is the real God, with his ideas of what mankind should do, and one is the fake God, that wants the opposite to happen.

So who is the real God? The one that forbids humanity to have fire & punished the one that gave it to them? Or the one that gave the fire to humanity because he felt sorry for them?

The one that got punished for eternity, yet set free by a human as a sign of gratitude? Or the punisher atop a mountain where that same human one day hopes to reach?

There is no way for us humans to truly know. Why? Because of the devil’s mirror. The devil’s mirror is a perfect mirror of negative reflection. Whatever God says is right, the devil’s mirror reflects the complete opposite in such a way that it sounds just as much like it could be God’s word. Which is why a belief like buddhism can argue for self-enlightenment, for humanity to grab the fire and master the universe.

Guards & Labyrinths.

This brings to mind a old parable and riddle that includes two guards and two doors, or the honest and dishonest twins in the labyrinth. The left hand path and the right hand path. The riddle goes along the lines of this :

“You are in a room , or prison, or labyrinth with two doors. There’s a guard at each door. One door is the exit, but behind the other door is something that will kill you. You are told that one guard always tells the truth and the other guard always lies. You do not know which guard is which.

You are allowed to ask one question to each of these guards to determine which door is the exit.

What question should you ask?”

Whilst a belief like Christianity argues that humans are inherently filled with sin and can only reach salvation by blindly trusting God as they walk through the valley of darkness. And who is right?

There is no way to tell, for the devil’s mirror echoes the word of God perfectly.

Which brings us back to paradise and the apple. Was it God who created paradise and the devil that made Eve the apple so humanity might be thrown out? Or was it the Devil that made a false paradise and God that encouraged Eve to eat the apple so that humanity may learn to stand on its own two feet and reach its own enlightenment?

Call to action!

By NielsKNK & GRITCULT.

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ALEX JONES AND FOULCAULT’S PROPHECY, or Mental Illness Diagnosis as Discourse Control

Last Wednesday, slight maniac and uncowed truth-teller/insidious huckster (depending on your perspective) Alex Jones made a surprising re-appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience, the world’s most popular podcast. In his time there, he spun his usual tales and anxieties into an elucidating tapestry of his worldview — that splinter organizations of the US government are using DMT to communicate with extra-dimensional aliens, cell-phone towers are used to control the population, etc.

This podcast provides an opportunity to examine reaction to what he has said from journalists and social activists like Tim Wise. Mr Wise wrote that Mr Jones should be ‘forciblat it is not is surprising. In fact, it has been the medicalized approach to dissent for over a century in governments of all kinds, from capitalist to communist.

When I hear consistent calls for Jones to be deplatformed by various voices whenever he raises his head, I am reminded of this passage from the preface of Foucault’s book Madness and Civilisation:

“Modern man no longer communicates with the madman… the constitution of madness as mental illness, at the end of the eighteenth century, bears witness to a rupture in a dialogue, gives the separation as already enacted, and expels from the memory all those imperfect words… in which the exchange between madness and reason was carried out.”

I am torn when it comes to Foucault. His writing on sexuality is confused — deliberately obscurantist and presumptuous, at times bordering on the grotesque. On the other hand, I find him to be an invaluable resource on the ways modern society perceives and builds an idea of ‘mental illness’. Nowhere is this better evidenced than in the reactions we see to Alex Jones.

Though Foucault makes sweeping, often factually incorrect claims to the treatment of the insane in pre-Enlightenment eras, his thesis is sound; that there is potential for inspiration and insight via dialogue with ‘madman’ that goes ignored in favour of the explicit separation of the ‘sane’ and the ‘insane’ — never the two shall meet, for the sane person fears that part of the insane will rub off and forever taint them with the disorder of dissent.

With regards to the podcast, this can be seen when co-host Eddie Bravo compares Jones’s views to those of ‘Flat Earthers’. The implication that is carried is that all conspiracy theories are of the same stock, of insane stock. Jones repudiates him for this comparison, and rightly so; by tarring all conspiracy theory by way of the most ridiculous example, by practicing reductio ad absurdum, Bravo, does the legwork of discourse control. Bravo is here playing devil’s advocate, and indeed states agreement with Jones to some extent, but his intentions do not change the pragmatic modus of his statement. This is what the label of insanity invariably represents — an opportunity for the dominant discourse to reassert its position by suggestion that all fringe discourse comes from the same modus, one of inherent inaccuracy that must be cured rather than engaged.

Medicalization, backed by private interests, encourages the onset of a worldview that is not amenable to dominant social structures and does not sufficiently attend to these dynamics in personal life by delineating negativistic perspective into a personal ‘illness’ which can be treated first and foremost as a problem for the person to solve with hi themselves by realigning themselves closer to idealized consensus reality — or otherwise allowing the state to alter their neurochemistry (i.e. medicate) to brute force them towards amenability. Of course, Tim Wise stating this impulse is not the same as the state acting it out — however, his statement does elucidate the impetus that underlines such actions. Mark Fisher (RIP), in his book “Capitalist Realism”states this with regards to another form of insanity, depression — specifically, he describes why the impetus to definite outward critique medically acts as a distraction from modern systems of labour.

“Being a teenager in late capitalist Britain is now close to being reclassified as a sickness. By privatizing these problems — treating them as if they were caused only by chemical imbalances in the individual’s neurology and/or by their family background — any question of social systemic causation is ruled out.”

For Alex Jones, demands that he be forcibly medicated show that despite speaking utter nonsense, he also often speaks the truth. In some way he is lucky; he has the diligence and business acumen to turn his stream of consciousness into a livelihood and had he not he would have likely been labelled as a schizophrenic by now. But one need only research what he is saying to recognize that his statements often are grounded in realities that are not simply uncomfortable to one side of partisan politics but to the basal assumptions that modern consensus reality functions on. Alex Jones is thought of as a threat not because he often says things that are clearly nonsense, but because he says them with conviction; his existence unseparated from the world of the sane is a reminder to the world of the sane that our truths and perspectives may be couched in falsehoods that we have left unquestioned.

I leave you with a revised version of a statement by psychedelic advocate Terrence Mckenna:

“Alex Jones is deplatformed not because a loving academic class is concerned that you may harass the parents of school shooting victims. Alex Jones is deplatformed because he dissolves opinion structures and culturally laid down models of behaviour and information processing. He opens you up to the possibility that everything you know is wrong.”

Call to action!

By H.E. Donist. Edited by James Conners

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Evolution in motion — Anatomy & human energy systems

Neanderthal hunters walk along the snowy woodland, pine trees scent the air. They are thick-chested with robust thick limbs, eyes on the lookout for any sign of prey. Food is scarce at this time of the year, the tribes hunger rests on their shoulders, and their bellies rumble.

An echo afar halts the group, they crouch down, move in slow and quiet hidden within the canopy. A herd of woolly mammoth grazes in the open prairie, tightly bound to one another.

An adult male feeds the clan for days, yet one slip can cost the hunters their game or worse. Surprise is the path to success, as the beasts are slow to spring, until they pick up enough momentum to trample you.

The hunters creep close enough for the ambush, glance amongst themselves, ready to go.

This article presents the spectrum of human energy systems to help you maximise your fitness efforts. We have separated and specialised both of these functions.

Evolution.

The evolution of man away from our lower apes coincided with our ability to chase and hunt prey. We are made for running longer distances, the selection pressure of being able to run longer distances,we adapted and evolved into our current stature due to this.

We moved away from living in trees and back onto the land. Back on to the savanna being able to chase prey over those long plains distances. Being able to cover large distances and run provided those proto-humans with a selection advantage and continues to impact our life today.

Bipedalism arose, and then the competition between humans of those who could run better lead to intra species selection. Those humans who could spend a longer time hunting, were seen as more fit, as people got more fit in this regard, it initiated a feedback loop, being able to hunt longer distances.

The more slender homo sapien, with better thermoregulation, for better heat dissipation versus the neanderthal which was more suited to colder climates and powerful efforts.

Man as the hunter, we are now in awe of the sniper who lies wait for his target days on end, trailing and relying only on his wits. This stems from the hunter in the savannas.

Humans can outrun almost any other mammal and sometimes even horses when it is hot, according to Daniel Lieberman and Dennis Bramble, from a 2007 paper “The Evolution of Marathon Running”.

Anatomy

We have around 200 bones, we need to move these, we do this via our muscles. Your body evolved specialised fibres with specific metabolisms. They create energy from various sources ranging from sugar to fat and protein, with or without oxygen.

These two systems exist along a spectrum. The first type consumes fuel with oxygen to sustain long efforts such as posture and walking. The second produces power, no oxygen required. Usain Bolt and Mo Farah embody the two polar ends of the spectrum.You either run lightly for a long time, or sprint then tire out fast.

Muscles of the aerobic system are rich in cellular engines known as mitochondria. These biological powerhouses convert oxygen and sugar into energy.

Anaerobic muscles tap into internal nutrient stores to sustain explosive efforts such as a sprint or a jump. These reserves are limited, unlike oxygen, and deplete within 2 minutes. The aerobic system takes over and diminishes the power output.

This depletion triggers the body’s growth signals. A rapid hormonal response refills the muscles after a rest period, such as when you do a second set of the same exercise. Anabolic hormone production will promote structural repairs to reduce the inflammation, especially over the first forty-eight hours. Frequent exposure to this stimulus leads to muscle growth and strength adaptation over time.

The first type muscle fibres adapt with more blood vessels and mitochondria, while the second gain storage potential.

Going back to the human nature of the sniper, the persistence hunter. Modern humans are persistence hunters in that we rely on our stamina to wait out our prey. We would not stop until we get that prey, who would usually overheat before us, our potent thermoregulation was better than most other archaic humans such as the neanderthal. Again a proliferation of factors, such as being able to sweat, our surface area to volume ratios, our slender frames. This edge made us better persistence hunters. Patience is a virtue. Along with our thermoregulation we also have to factor in our energy systems which evolved to take effect under different stresses and thus have different pathways. There are three systems, phosphagen, lactate, and mitochondrial respiration. All end product that gets used is ATP, and they have evolved as different routes, influenced by context.

Conclusion

From what we can see there is an epidemic case of evolutionary mismatch which is when certain evolutionary systems that evolved for a certain environment now are a disadvantage and have more costs than benefits.

Evolutionary mismatch can be seen in humans in the form of metabolic disorders, an epidemic the rise worldwide, yet the body’s energy systems remain the same. Have the rapid changes of modernity underwhelmed your power generators? A practical exercise solution must target the full spectrum of energy systems.

Jogging alone fails to stimulate the metabolism at its full capacity. Include high-intensity activities such as sprints and strength training. Weightlifting allows you to manipulate the intensity of your effort to use a specific energy supply. Sets of 1 to 3 repetitions with a heavier load to tap into the phosphagen system, while sets of 4 to 12 use lactate, anything longer is an aerobic effort.

Fast Forward to London, 2012

We have reached such heights where combined with science and engineering we are still continuing to beat records. The gun’s blast propels Usain Bolt across 100m in 9.63 seconds to win gold, faster than ever, one day after Mo Farah clinched the 10,000m title.

With bleeding edge research new barriers are being broken in genomics and engineering on the level of genetics. Evolution is open ended. No one can accurately say what heights we may go to, or what records we will continue to smash. Tap into your body’s energetic potential to stimulate your system. An active future awaits.

Call to action!

Joint essay by GRITCULT. & Alex Bernier, Founder of The Online School of Exercise and author of Head To Toe 2 — Body Pillars For Strength And Longevity. Get it today to start your victory here or on itunes, here.

Read our previous essay here.

If you found this essay interesting please do 👏 and share it where you can. Remember, you can clap up to 50 times — it makes a big difference for the authors and for Meditations & Observations.

Want MORE research based orthogonal insights? Newsletter, with Free Discord server link: Click here. Twitter here.

References

Peake, J. M., Neubauer, O., Gatta, P. A., & Nosaka, K. (2017). Muscle damage and inflammation during recovery from exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology,122(3), 559–570. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00971.2016

Neanderthals were sprinters rather than distance runners, study surprisingly suggests. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-neanderthals-sprinters-distance-runners-surprisingly.html

Dennis M. Bramble, Daniel E. Lieberman. Endurance running and the evolution of Homo. Nature, 2004; 432 (7015): 345 DOI: 10.1038/nature03052

The Evolution Institute. (2019). Evolutionary Mismatch. [online] Available at: https://evolution-institute.org/projects/evolutionary-mismatch/ [Accessed 2 Mar. 2019].

Larson, P. (2019). The Evolution of Running in Humans: Why We Are Meant to Run. [online] Runblogger.com. Available at: https://runblogger.com/2009/04/evolution-of-running-in-humans-why-we.html [Accessed 2 Mar. 2019].

University Of Utah. (2004, November 24). How running made us human: Endurance running let us evolve to look the way we do. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 1, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/11/041123163757.htm

Verywell Fit. (2019). Anaerobic Metabolism vs. Aerobic Metabolism in Exercise. [online] Available at: https://www.verywellfit.com/anaerobic-metabolism-3432629 [Accessed 2 Mar. 2019].

The Endurance Store. (2019). Aerobic & Anaerobic Energy Systems Explained. [online] Available at: https://www.theendurancestore.com/blogs/the-endurance-store/88125763-aerobic-anaerobic-energy-systems-explained [Accessed 2 Mar. 2019].

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