When I write my entries on discipline and talk about how it’s really difficult to do something simple, I regularly get this sense that I’m saying something really silly. Though it felt like a very good idea at the time, by the time it was put into words “Riding To Stanford” felt like a joke. Fundamentally I am certain of my position; reality is infinitely more complex than any model or fantasy we can ever create, thus it follows fairly easily that because we are creatures of reality, everything up to our own bodies and minds will sometimes if not very often act in ways we do not completely account for. Giving examples for this… is more difficult, unless you’re completely focused on trying to see that the idea is correct. “It is hard to hold a dumbbell straight out parallel” – if you have done weightlifting you will instantly recognize what I mean, but if you haven’t then it can sound almost facetious. Just hold the dumbbell up, what the hell is the problem? Are you just a faker weightlifter?
But it doesn’t even matter if I point out something that seemingly everyone does. You aren’t perfectly still when you’re sitting at your computer monitor, you are moving forward and backward ever so slightly at the tempo of your heart. You don’t type perfectly; you miss a key every once in a while or delete half of a sentence when it doesn’t end up going somewhere good. You will have mental blindness to some of the things that are in your field of vision. Your utensils may sometimes drop the bite you wanted. Particular example is not relevant. The universal response is “But I don’t care/train for such things.”
“Such things” being synonymous with “Everything”.
Everybody knows that they themselves and everybody else treats reality as something that could be dealt with another day, and of course “Tomorrow never comes”. Our entire culture has only one pride and it is on the breaking of complacency; it’s measured against… themselves, that they could be doing… something else. Swag, yolo, saving the whales, change we can believe in… competition and reality do not enter into it at all. Nothing is measured against the greatness of the ancestors, or even some successful guy today. Though on the political scale things are claimed to be “The most important X ever/yet” and on the individual scale “Personally significant”, we all have the general idea that a good 90% of such claims are full of shit.
Now why is that?
It’s been answered multiple times, but as with all knowledge, we can’t particularly digest it unless it is in a form familiar to us. This is difficult in general because there is no such thing as a universal / general / cultural form anymore, because leftism for the past century (and arguably back to Rousseau) has aimed at making a culture of culture destruction. Where once you could reliably say something short, fast, and expect a reasonable penetration strength and rate, entire books and blogs have to be created so a shell and environment exists as a surrogate. The general answer is that we have become soft and we have not had hard lives. The author here approaching everything structurally, the more specific answer here is that…
Between the end of the 19th century and the 1920s, capitalism shifted its frame from the producer to the consumer. And so Since the 1920s and for nearly a century, it has been the norm that production is a given. It’s presumed that there’s going to be a shit-lining of shelves and we just need you to come and buy it.
…Production is a given.
In other words, the culture takes it that resources are nonscarce.
Economics is actually just something to hear about in college. Opportunity cost is now just a word.
I was browsing a new book I bought, Lennard Zinn’s “The Art of Road Bike Maintenance”, on a double-decker bus to school. I had bought the book because it was cheap and I had always wanted to learn a little more about my most prized possession so I wouldn’t need to spend lots of time (truing is *not* fun) or money (I don’t like the idea of leaving my bike in a stranger’s hands) to fix it – just maintain it well and catastrophic failures will cost less. But Zinn basically wrote a bible, and made a bajillion magical things sound like everything could be done just – like – that. Oh, here’s how you build a fucking wheel. It’s fine if you flat and dont have spares, just tie the inner tube into a knot. This is an exploded picture of all the parts inside a brifter. While pondering one of these entries looking around my surroundings, I read a paper sign. It said, “Don’t stand while the bus is moving” or something like that. A sensible thing to post, being on the second floor.
And then I realized, I’m sitting in a chair 9 fucking feet off the ground moving forward without any energy on my part at 30mph. This sounds rather cliche and similar to the comedian in this video, but as a mechanical engineer, this is the kind of shit I will build. I can’t just expect stuff to work “like it should”.
Minus nature (and really, who experiences nature today anyways), every last thing you see was created by a human somewhere. So there I was, not even paying attention to Zinn anymore, wondering how every single thing on the bus got to where it was. Those bars had to be made somehow. They’re wired some way because the red STOP button works. Someone had to make sure the clearance between each of these seats was identical, say nothing of the seats themselves. The bus itself had to be designed and tested to know what speeds and angles are safe for a double decker. A height had to be set for the first deck; “oh about this much” definitely didn’t cut it back at whatever factory.
It’s easy to say “Machines do it” if you don’t know anything about manufacturing. But when you learn how all metal and plastic is made via a number of processes, you’ll realize that all the machines which exist today were once not there. Each one had to be put together, each part molded or casted. Machines themselves had to be machined, and those machines before them, and those machines before them, all the way back to just man and metal (and perhaps water and horse). The same story exists in measuring, in materials, in planning, throughout all of creation.
The story is that, sometime, somewhere,
some man did something to start it all.
Useful things, things with function, don’t simply exist. The first man did not have a ruler with inches on one side and centimeters on the other. He had to say something, out of nowhere, arbitrarily, THIS is what one unit of (whatever) is. The man to make the second ruler – the first “accurate” ruler – had to go straight off of the first one. How else would he have known how long a single unit was? He didn’t have access to some kind of Platonic Form, some arbitrary knowledge which would allow him to randomly draw marks in the correct positions. Even if he did, he wouldn’t be able to do it if he had a fat marker. With a large enough marker and a small enough increment, you can’t see anything. I can use a paint roller and say “here is 1cm” and it could be true, but it’d be fucking useless if I covered everything from -10.7 to 8.215cm as well.
What intricacies can we not avoid? If food is not to our liking, we don’t shop at that supermarket anymore – there are so many others. If some other product is not to our liking, we return it for a better one (one with intricacies we cannot perceive) – there’s a bajillion of those too. If we make a mistake on a form of any kind, whatever, we’ll do better next time – there’s always a next time. We do not perceive food as something we have that is limited, or items we have that are actually ours, or errors which could cost us more than just an irrelevant timespan of our brief existences.
When something does happen, when something cannot be evaded, we claim to “not know what to do”. Could be getting robbed, taking a test, breaking up, any of this special “life changing event” kind of thing. “Not know what to do” is actually just a very nice way of saying PANIC TIME, itself in turn a polite way of hiding the fact that we are actually all just fucking overgrown children who can’t make a single decision.
We think we’re part of this perfect world, that everything will just be taken care of for us and we’ll never have to
worry think about anything.
Production is a given. What could go wrong?
It is, of course, not actually a given. To make something into a given is perhaps the greatest of achievements – but even then, it fundamentally still must be created by men.
It is why once upon a time, the greatest creators were called craftsmen. They excelled at creating quality products, in a time where “quality” actually had a meaning; they created reliable products, in a time where “reliability” had a meaning. Back then, it was actually possible to create gears and cogs for clocks in a way so that they’d tell the wrong time fast, and thus be a bad clockmaker. It was once an amazing feat to create an item with interchangeable parts – to be able to craft parts with such similar tolerances, you could take one apart and use it as spare parts for another without the need for a hammer and chisel, or a forge to change any shapes. As such, each item was individual, unique. You knew who it was created by, and you knew it was yours, because it looked and performed differently from the rest. There was meaning in continuing to use the same one, because everything from its center of gravity and its moments of inertia to its inscriptions and colors were truly and magically unique.
But no longer. With the continual improvement of logistics and mechanics, the engineers have been able to shave down margins and error rates to a scale completely below the range of unaided human recognition. The advancement of technology does not necessitate that humans can adapt to it quickly – indeed, it’s commonly said that our technology now controls us by amazement. Alarm clocks and cars, along with freight trains and the technology of refrigeration, have made it so that instead of waiting for the farmer to deliver food in the morning, it’s possible for them to do it long before the sun rises, or even several days before a dish is ever cooked. Massive machines, fine tuned by lasers and tens of engineers drawing upon centuries of mathematical knowledge and modelling on paper and computer, are able to churn out hundreds of thousands of items, each with dimensions so similar a bacteria hopping from one to the next on the assembly line would wonder whether or not it was actually going in circles.
It was once true that achieving perfection made you a god; that having errors was just fine, easy to deal with, we’re all human and in this together kind of thing.
Now that the collective skills of all types of engineers have achieved this much, perfection is an expectation; anything less is cause for true terror.
As clearly indicated by the rise of the short-sighted, hedonistic, all-questioning and all-justifying intellectualism of the Left, the human race is “progressing” past greatness and into entropy. “Past” not as in “surpassing”, but in “missing the mark“. Because the greatness achieved by those who came before has allowed us such great ranges of error without the slightest glimpse of the failure that is death and the erasure of all that is good, we now childishly think that we can do anything we want, at any time, and still achieve glory. You’re an 80 year old man, you can still go back to college and start a new career. You’re a 50 year old woman, you can still go back to the bar and find a strapping young man. You can still be the greatest athlete in the world with no legs. The best writer with no eyes. The best pianist with no hands. You can’t talk down these things either explicitly or implicitly either, because that’s “wrong, how could you even think of such a thing”. Where once the goal was to increase the tolerance of error for a greater chance of success, now the name of the game is how far you can increase the tolerance of success. The ends no longer justify the means; the means justify the ends.
Some take it as a joke that to raise a child well, you must fuck their life up.
I don’t. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” isn’t just some namby pamby line you use to make someone feel better, it’s a fucking universal. Do you know what happens when you control fuck ups so that you only encounter a certain type? You gain a skill. Raise a child this way, and he will become the greatest you’ve ever known at whatever it was you controlled for. There are controls put into reality by God – they are called biology and physics. There are rules to this game that we can not avoid, and they dictate the strategies that will be best. It is these laws, and the laws we create which makes sense of these laws in simpler and more functional forms, which grows our kind toward the heavens. This is why Discipline and Honor are universal values throughout all cultures throughout all history.
It is why equality, feminism, fairness, and freedom are not.
If we do not keep this treasure of the ancients alive, Fortuna will steal it from us and we will go back to the beginning.
Reality has scarce resources, and mankind is currently treating resources as nonscarce. This must be rectified, and mathematically it must happen either by massively increasing the need for resources, or by massively decreasing their effective existence. Losing knowledge on how to use resources (or even recognizing something as a resource) is doable, if the infinite propagation of knowledge is stopped and restricted more to only those who use it well. Doing things more “inefficiently” is also a fairly easy task. By removing some machines and going back to a larger proportion of human labor, the current problem of nonexistence of human bonding (loyalty, family, brotherhoods, etc.) would also be resolved.
Of course, we would rather hamper ourselves with a purpose – we would rather challenge ourselves. There is only one option that fits the scale of the current human population.
We must colonize space.
The genesis must be respected and properly feared if we are not to return to it. Humans are not “sustainable” creatures. We are “growing” creatures. We dominate and we seek more. This cannot be changed. It is in our nature. No amount of logical runaround will change reality.
We expand or we die.