Scratching the Surface of the New Understanding

I have just read a book “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattle which likely influenced Napoleon Hill, the author of “Think and Grow Rich” which I’ve read and praised earlier.

I have to praise this one too and without hesitation I can recommend it to everyone looking for constructive insights on how exactly to attain wealth and success, especially since it’s just 66 pages long.

“The Science of Getting Rich” is what also largely influenced The Secret, a popular movie from 2006 that popularized the concept of “The Law of Attraction”, albeit such a term isn’t found in the actual book.

That said, just like “Think and Grow Rich”, this book greatly resonates with me. I can see the logic in them and I can see exactly how applying philosophies expressed in these books can lead one to success. Think and Grow Rich especially has a pretty solid mount of evidence in support of the positively transformational power of its ideas as many successful and wealthy people reportedly cite that book as being a major influence to their success.

I can also say that it certainly made me a lot more likely to succeed as I can with absolute confidence say that in part thanks to these books I am far more confident about myself and far more daring. I have transformed and solidified my view of failure as part of success, of limitations as primarily mental and self-imposed, of wealth creation as a noble rather than morally reprehensible goal, and so on.

Yet I am still somewhat uneasy, or at least, I am eager to express something that I feel could make the philosophies presented in these books more complete, and put them deeper within a rational and scientific context. There are two reasons for this.

Confusion over The Law of Attraction (and The Secret)

As much as I could say that “The Secret” movie brought philosophies of these books to the masses I would say that it perverted them or dumbed them down to the point at which pretty much the only thing an average person could get from it is that “I can get whatever I wish in my mind by the simple act of wishing”. And I can see how can these philosophies be brought down to this incredible oversimplification. The fact that they zeroed in to this term “Law of Attraction” which immediately implies that the core of the idea is attraction, not action, doesn’t help at all.

Yet both Wallace Wattle and Napoleon Hill emphasized the importance of taking action. Even the movie itself, The Secret, glossed over this briefly, but insufficiently.

That said, Wallace did pretty much say that strongly envisioning something you desire in your mind and being grateful for getting it even before you actually get it (in order to affirm your absolute belief in that you will get it) will directly cause a chain of events independent of your physical action that will make the thing you desire to be attracted to you. In a nutshell, this guy believed in the Law of Attraction.

However, this is what leads me to the second reason of my “uneasiness”. He uses terms which CAN be interpreted in a different way where a different light is cast on the whole “attraction” business and where thought itself doesn’t necessarily have to be considered a direct cause of your getting what you desire. In essence, the whole action-reaction chain that ensues once you form the desire filled and confident thought in your mind may be slightly different than what most readers of Wallace and perhaps even Wallace himself, is led to believe.

This would be a result of our limited understanding of that which we are, through these ideas, beginning to discover. The ways in which we are describing it are still inefficient and insufficient to precisely pin point the exact science in question. Due to the amount of people that succeed by applying these ideas it seems plausible that we ARE looking at a glimpse of truth rather than a fallacy, but due to the limited understanding, we may be getting some of the crucial details wrong, which is the case regarding “The Secret” and “Law of Attraction”.

Thoughts, energy and action-reaction chains

First of all, it is currently scientifically understood that all matter in existence comes down to energy. When an object, no matter how big or how small, is inert, it has potential energy, albeit on a more fundamental level it is never inert so inertion is relative to the observer. When the same object becomes active it converts its potential energy to kinetic energy. And due to the conservation of energy law energy is never actually destroyed or “spent away”; it’s simply converted from one form to another.

It is then conceivable that physical forms of shape could also be considered as specific forms of energy, of potential energy if anything. Wallace Wattle talks about “formless substance” and this is where it appears that energy fits right in. But then we enter the realm of thought. Wattle also describes this as “formless substance that thinks“.

If formless substance is energy then the question is can energy think? If everything in existence is fundamentally energy though then human beings and other thinking life forms are energy as well in which case through them energy can and does indeed think. Observing what happens in our brains when we think does reveal that our thoughts are in effect just a complex stream of impulses, of energy!

But the concept of “formless substance that thinks” seems to imply that energy thinks regardless of whether it holds a form of a thinking life form or not, in which case a tree thinks itself into existence as a tree, a rock thinks itself into an existence as a rock and so on. Can this be?

Well, to answer this would require defining “thought” and this again refers me to the observation of thoughts as streams of energy in which case thought is nothing but a patter of energy flows. Thoughts then ARE energy. Thoughts then could be considered a fundamental building block of everything in existence.

In that case by the very virtue of being, a tree thinks. The only difference between a tree that thinks itself into existence and a human that thinks itself into existence is that a human is aware of his thoughts whereas a tree isn’t, giving a human the power to transform his thoughts and therefore himself and direction of his growth whereas the tree just “instinctively” grows according to parameters established by itself and the rest of the thinking reality.

So where does law of attraction or its rebuttal as it were fit in?

Well, it implies a very specific thing. It infers from the above realizations, provided that LOA supporters have these realizations, a particular action-reaction chain without actually seeing any empirical or logical consistency evidence of such an action-reaction chain occurring. It infers that because we are all made of thought-energy that our envisioning a particular image strongly somehow materializes this image into a physical equivalent. But what basis do they have for concluding this? This is NOT a necessary conclusion of everything being consisted of thought-energy and it ignores the many intricate ways in which thought-energy actually flows or interacts with that which it constantly creates.

So even if all of the above is true, that everything is consisted of thought-energy thinking itself to existence, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I can think something else aside of me and my actions into existence, something that on a macro scale never actually interacts with me. I think this is all coming from a gross misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of the laws which actually govern “thinking”, that is, a process by which thought-energy shapes itself into forms we see around ourselves, and the universe at large.

What we CAN conclude based on actual evidence though is that a thought can cause an act and that therefore one indeed cannot achieve anything before previously envisioning that something in the mind. The efficiency of any given act in its ability to bring us closer to the achievement of our goal is directly dependent on our understanding of the action-reaction chains which are necessary to achieve it. Most of us probably still use crude methods and do things which we might not necessary have to do, that are superfluous to our goals, but we’re still learning.

Theoretically though it is possible that as we begin learning more and more about precise action-reaction chains involved in how everything comes into being (or in other words the process by which thought-energy creates) we MAY be able to by the power of our mind alone replicate things we envision out of thin air, by arranging our thoughts in such a way to create an energy impulse that arranges molecules of air surrounding us into whatever we have envisioned.

But we’re likely a very long way there and still have plenty to learn.

In conclusion, I think that it is worth considering what was written in “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Science of Getting Rich” as it IS evidently changing people’s lives for the better. I think that they are scratching the surface of a new understanding that may soon become a real science. The fact that they sometimes sound almost mystical or add what appear to be superfluous conclusions (like law of attraction) merely reflects the limitedness of their understanding of the actual source of the ideas they have through their thinking and observing discovered, not that these are ideas are completely false.

So let’s keep exploring this and evolving.

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  • Yes it's me

    Interesting, this is quite similar to a fundamental part of my own philosophy/metaphysics/whatever there (although I think the secret is so far below complete bullshit that it doesn't deserve being mentioned in a serious discussion).

    Theoretically though it is possible that as we begin learning more and more about precise action-reaction chains involved in how everything comes into being (or in other words the process by which thought-energy creates) we MAY be able to by the power of our mind alone replicate things we envision out of thin air, by arranging our thoughts in such a way to create an energy impulse that arranges molecules of air surrounding us into whatever we have envisioned.

    And this is coming from the same person who tried to make the argument that I believe too outlandish things because I "work" with a "goddess" and therefore my other ideas also must be nonsense…

    Anyway. If the tree or even the rock thinks itself into existence (or something like that), how do you know it is not self-aware? For materialists it is normal to say that self-awareness requires an advanced brain, but when we use the other philosophy, the brain is part of the matter being thought into existence, and then it is not necessarily needed for self-awareness.

    So are the rock and tree potentially self-aware (but handicapped and therefore unable to act on it), or is there a reasonable argument to suggest they aren't?

    Note that eating something that is potentially self-aware is an initiation of force!

    Then there is indeed the matter of gods (or whatever we should call these minds)… In my own attempts to achieve increased awareness (or complete self-delusion if you choose not to believe me :P ) they were kinda hard to miss (but then again I went looking for them on purpose).

    If individual minds are in a way part of larger minds, that's a HUGE problem to your denial of the rights of the collective!

    And what about the universe as a whole being a self-aware mind? Isn't that in essence what you described? How very collectivist ;) .

    So, in summary, it seems to me that voluntaryism and mind-before-matter don't combine very well. If you can reconcile them, more power to you, otherwise it might be better to stick to materialism (which is much more scientific anyway), because you appear more attached to voluntaryism than to mind-before-matter.

    Just my 2c.

  • admin

    Hi,

    First, much of what I wrote about was not an expression of what I believe to be true, but of what merely "could be". It just seems like an interesting thing to explore, but I don't take these theories as scientific facts and I'm fine with that for now.

    And this is coming from the same person who tried to make the argument that I believe too outlandish things because I “work” with a “goddess” and therefore my other ideas also must be nonsense…

    As said above I don't *believe* it. You probably remember me having pantheistic ideas before yet I was still clinging to established science as fact more than the more outlandish projections of some "all is one and one is all" ideas. I feel that pantheism is something we will be discovering more and more in our evolution, but I can't say I know all the facts.

    I can have fun with some extrapolations though, why not? Imagination is the first step towards discovery. :)

    Also, I didn't say that because you "work" with a "goddess" your other ideas must be nonsense.

    Anyway. If the tree or even the rock thinks itself into existence (or something like that), how do you know it is not self-aware? For materialists it is normal to say that self-awareness requires an advanced brain, but when we use the other philosophy, the brain is part of the matter being thought into existence, and then it is not necessarily needed for self-awareness.

    I don't see a conflict there necessarily. Reality wont change just because you have a more fundamental understanding of it (supposing that "thinking reality" paradigm really is a correct one, which again I am not claiming as a done fact). A rock is still a rock. An animal is still an animal. A human is still a human. As I said above the difference between a rock and a human would then likely be in the fact that a rock isn't aware of what it "thinks" whereas a human is which is what makes a rock unable to modify itself willfully whereas a human can (hence all of the self-advancement and self-governance potential).

    Also consider that I made a direct comparison between "thinking" and "energy flows" so when I say that a rock thinks itself into existence I might have as well synonymously said that a rock "energy flows" or "energy structures" or even simply "energizes" itself into existence. It comes from a view of thoughts as actually energy patterns.

    So, if this paradigm is correct, it still wouldn't conflict the less fundamental materialistic observations.

    If individual minds are in a way part of larger minds, that’s a HUGE problem to your denial of the rights of the collective!

    A book which partly inspired these ideas, "The Science of Getting Rich" is completely individualistic even while speaking of exactly that kind of pantheistic view. It encourages "getting rich as a right" and a creative rather than competitive mentality because primarily competitive mentality operates under an assumption that there's never enough so you must take from another to have yourself. Creative mentality derives from a pantheistic view (we are all "godstuff" and hence carry within an enormous potential) where instead of taking wealth from another we BUILD it ourselves and as we are getting rich make others rich too.

    It comes to mind that an organism at war with itself is doomed. Voluntaryism is the cure for this war. If the pantheistic paradigm is correct then that doesn't make sentient individuals somehow less of what they are just as it doesn't make a rock any less of a rock. So even if everything was just one huge mind every individual "thought" or "thing/being that thinks itself into existence" which among its properties has self-awareness, self-interest and sense of ownership (like humans) would be less of what it was if these properties were violated, and unlike a rock those particular beings very much feel violated when that happens which is where the whole issue of morals comes from.

    Without voluntaryism it is assumed that these violations are at least sometimes desirable, but the result is an organism at war rather than an equilibrium that we see pretty much everywhere else in the universe.

    If we as sentient beings are a way the universe gets to know itself it somehow seems unnatural to, contrary to everything else in nature, deny this equilibrium among sentient beings. You think governments are necessary for an equilibrium, I don't. I see governments as an attempt to impose a top down order whereas everything else in nature is clearly bottom up.

    Within this pantheistic paradigm I am an individual thought and you are an individual thought. The fact that we are so different and that the consistence of our individual sub-thoughts leads us to such different conclusions is evidence enough of the fact that even if we both on some level are "one", on the level that we live in, perceive and which matters to us, we are two individuals, two children of god debating the best way to interface with each other. I propose voluntary interaction without all coercion so that the nature or "god" as it were can take its course more perfectly.

  • admin

    Hmm sorry I overlooked to reply to this direct:

    Note that eating something that is potentially self-aware is an initiation of force!

    Learning some fundamentals doesn't change reality just like in many ways Einstein's theories didn't contradict many of Newton's observations even though Newton's were more superficial. So rock isn't self aware just because of discovering that it's really made of energy which we defined as "thought flows". :P

    But what I wanted to say too is that "potentially self aware" still isn't "self aware" and thus it wouldn't be initiation of force.

    Cheers

  • nicks forever changi

    Let me try to clarify my point while trying not to get us in a loop…

    If I remember correctly, you have said in the past that "the collective" doesn't exist, that there are only individuals. Yet this particular flavor of pantheism does lead to a belief in some kind of collective. What kind exactly depends on the details of your beliefs (/ideas/thoughts/musings) but it seems likely to deserve rights. And once you start granting rights to collectives, the can of worms is open.

    As for the rock or tree, isn't it similar to the situation of someone who because of an accident or illness lost all possible ways to communicate their wishes? If we wouldn't have the medical technology to prove the he isn't braindead, the person would be exactly like the tree. Only the person would (in any decent society) still be granted rights, whereas the tree doesn't get any because we just assume it isn't self aware.

    Personally I see some potential in letting the amount of meaning something has determine how much protection it deserves (which would for example give everyone the right to initiate force against someone who destroys important works of art or threatened species etc, but on the other hand would also make violence against a human being a very, very bad thing because a human being contains a lot of meaning), but there is of course the problem of how to decide the meaningfulness of anything. At least it doesn't collapse when combined with extreme solipsism or its opposite (which is assuming rocks are self aware). I'll investigate that further.

    A small correction, I don't believe government is a necessity to create a fair society (and I don't believe equilibrium is a good thing, but that's another issue). I don't think a truly fair society is possible anyway. What I do believe is that no matter what you do, society is going to collapse into a form of government, so it's best to try get the least bad kind.

    Imagine we would live in a voluntaryist society. I would have the right to demand payment from anyone who used my property, and the right to use force against anyone who tries to use it without paying, correct?

    OK, so I buy a strip of land all around your house… Now you can't go anywhere without paying me! It's a **** move, but totally fair under the principles of voluntaryism.

    I know, this mean behavior could make everyone else stop wanting to do business with me, and I would starve. Not a problem, I'll surround a few farms instead of your house. Or maybe a whole village, why not? The payment I demand from anyone who wants to leave is higher than the total worth of everything everyone in the village owns. As a result, nobody can leave without violating the principles of voluntaryism, and I've become a dictator while all my violence was "defensive". Too easy.

    Of course the above example is silly and way over the top (although it does resemble how things used to be done in the past), but consider other forms of lock-in. The possibilities are infinite. It's even possible to tax computer use :P .

  • admin

    If I remember correctly, you have said in the past that “the collective” doesn’t exist, that there are only individuals.

    Yes, because it is a purely mental abstraction for a multitude. The evidence is within the very word "collective"; multiple of something. If you wish to give rights to the collective you might as well give rights to numbers. 1, 2, 3, 4..

    Saying "we must initiate force for the common good" is like saying "we must initiate force for the good of 4".

    Obviously, abstractions are useful when trying to convey certain ideas and understandings, but it is a mistake to start treating abstractions, mental figments, as if they were sentient beings. They're merely tokens representing something in reality, but they themselves aren't the thing they describe.

    Assuming that the pantheistic view of the world is correct is assuming certain facts which can be described in various ways. One can prefer to call the entire universe as "god" and personify it to an extent and another could still describe the entire universe as "energy" (streaming in and out of forms which interact with each other and so on). They'd likely both be correct if their abstractions aptly describe or convey the understanding of what actually IS out there.

    I can describe an apple as a red roughly round object. A blind man could describe it as a smooth sweet tasting object. A nano-technologist could some day describe it in form of a molecular structure drawn up on the computer screen. They'd all be right, but their descriptions themselves aren't *the apple*. Only the actual apple is the apple.

    I could go on and on with similar examples.

    As for the rock or tree, isn’t it similar to the situation of someone who because of an accident or illness lost all possible ways to communicate their wishes?

    No. The fact that it is known the person *lost* it means we know (s)he had it and is capable of having it.

    No such thing can be said for a rock or a tree.

    Only the person would (in any decent society) still be granted rights, whereas the tree doesn’t get any because we just assume it isn’t self aware.

    That's because of the above.

    In addition, this applies here. For a person we know he had or could have the capability to demand and defend his right. Again, no such thing can be said for a rock and animals.

    Whether we view a rock as thinking itself into existence, energizing itself into existence or anything else doesn't change that. Besides "energizing" and "thinking" are synonymous here!

    Note the Newton vs. Einstein comparison in prior comment. Laws of nature observed on the macro level aren't necessarily conflicted by the discovery of a deeper more fundamental level at which the universe may exist.

    That's kinda what you're trying to do here. You're trying to use the fact that we may all be energy (same stuff fundamentally) to validate the concept of a "collective". You're comparing apples and oranges. Would you say that if you build two *different* objects out of mud the two would be exactly the same solely because they're made of the same material?

    I don't think so. It's pretty clear they're different arrangements of the material. I may be made of the same stuff as you and everything in between us too. But I am an arrangement (or an energy pattern) that is different than you and the stuff in between is an arrangement/pattern that is different than both of us. This arrangement allows for different natures of being. Being as Taco is different than being as Danijel is different than being as a computer monitor is different than being as a wave of oxygen nitrogen atmosphere….

    but there is of course the problem of how to decide the meaningfulness of anything

    Indeed. Meaning is by definition a subjective thing and therefore cannot be universalized. And it's hard to have an unanimous decision of all affected by initiation of force resulting from a meaning-based decision unless the decision is NO, wont initiate force.

    I don’t think a truly fair society is possible anyway. What I do believe is that no matter what you do, society is going to collapse into a form of government, so it’s best to try get the least bad kind.

    But that's a little too big assumption. All I want is to stop initiating violence and be able to defend myself when someone does, period. If everyone agreed to that simple "rule" (which by its own nature cannot be imposed top down) wouldn't that be a society that doesn't collapse into a government as we know it (coercive)?

    I guess you don't agree it's possible for everyone to agree to that rule.. Well, yeah you're assuming a whole lot. To make a definitive judgment like that requires the kind of knowledge I don't think you have. I don't either, but I know that if given a choice to coerce or participate in coercion of someone I wont do it, because I don't want to be coerced myself. Since coercion leaves the one coerced harmed, by *definition*, choosing so is the ultimate way of doing no harm, something you yourself professed to minimize.

    Imagine we would live in a voluntaryist society. I would have the right to demand payment from anyone who used my property, and the right to use force against anyone who tries to use it without paying, correct?

    "Voluntaryist society" isn't quite precise. While I believe market anarchism would be a natural outcome of having all people interact on a voluntary basis nobody can with absolute certainty say how exactly would the details of that work out simply because nobody can perfectly predict individual's choices (why is why most economists are often tapping in the dark, extrapolating on perpetually incomplete data).

    That cleared away… that's correct. You'd have the right.

    The payment I demand from anyone who wants to leave is higher than the total worth of everything everyone in the village owns. As a result, nobody can leave without violating the principles of voluntaryism, and I’ve become a dictator while all my violence was “defensive”. Too easy.

    Not quite, unless merely surrounding people means you're a dictator, but that'd be a pretty funny definition. These people in the village are still absolute rulers of their own property, even if it is geographically locked out of the rest of the world. You can't morally forbid them anything while they're on their own property.

    And considering how way over the top that example is I could counter it with a less over the top example. Suppose the villagers find a way to get out of these confines without tresspassing. An example is flying over your property with a simple airplane they could design and fly high enough above your property. You don't own ALL of the airspace above your property because you've never been there and never clearly marked it as your own (and without doing that you didn't homestead it).

    Of course you could argue that you could do all that, but than I could just increase the "over the top"-ness of my own counterargument.

    Or I could simply say that you can always come up with an example which tweaks the details in exactly the ways necessary to make you win the point, which is less of an argument and more of imaginative storytelling and therefore becomes useless in a debate.

    Finally, the scenario is far better than having the whole Earth claimed by one gang or the other as their "jurisdiction" threatening everyone with violence if they don't comply with their "laws".

  • mr reply

    Not quite, unless merely surrounding people means you’re a dictator, but that’d be a pretty funny definition. These people in the village are still absolute rulers of their own property, even if it is geographically locked out of the rest of the world. You can’t morally forbid them anything while they’re on their own property.

    But I could refuse to let them pass over my land if they do things I don't want to do. As a result I could even make them starve.

    You don’t own ALL of the airspace above your property because you’ve never been there and never clearly marked it as your own (and without doing that you didn’t homestead it).

    Interesting, that sounds a lot like a law. (By the way, since in most cities no person has ever been higher than say 2 meters above the roof of their own house, does this mean it's OK to fly at that height? Another reason not to want to live in the world of your dreams…)

    In my opinion I would own the whole space above my property up to halfway to the next inhabited natural object (which would be the moon if someone lived on it), and everything below down to the core of the earth. Otherwise, if I would buy a previously unused area, I would only own its borders and the small part of it I might set foot on myself. Someone else might fly in, land in the middle and declare a part to be their own? That just doesn't make sense. It also leads to the question how large the area around me is that becomes mine when I "homestead". Do I have to systematically step on every square centimeter, or is being 100m away from a place enough to "have been there"? Unfortunately there is no law to tell us that very important detail.

    Finally, the scenario is far better than having the whole Earth claimed by one gang or the other as their “jurisdiction” threatening everyone with violence if they don’t comply with their “laws”.

    I disagree. Being locked up only when you do something that can sensibly be considered bad behavior is MUCH better than being locked up by default.

  • admin

    Interesting, that sounds a lot like a law.

    I think I told you this before. Law wouldn't be absent in a market anarchy, it would simply be marketized like everything else currently provided by the government. It's a big difference. People then wouldn't be subject to laws that they didn't themselves deem sensible, so laws effectively become agreements, not impositions.

    Every person providing access to his property can have his own terms and conditions of its use which the user must agree to prior to access and use. That's one example of private law.

    Since everything is somebody's property you could very well see guns banned in some streets and allowed in others, same with drugs, prostitution or I don't know what. Of course such terms and conditions of use would have to be acceptable to enough people if the owner of property in question was to have enough customers so these "laws" would be adapted to fit "market demand" so to speak, even in your over the top example. Why fight such a foolish battle when you can set a reasonable price and make more money and more friends that way.

    These terms and conditions are effectively nothing but a contract between the property owner and its users, so there's always consent on all parts involved.

    What would be commonly accepted as "homesteading" would ultimately depend on the aggregate of arbiter's judgments in various individual cases. But you wouldn't be anyhow bound to these judgments yourself. They would simply be informative as to what you're likely to expect when trying to do something over or on someone's property.

    (By the way, since in most cities no person has ever been higher than say 2 meters above the roof of their own house, does this mean it’s OK to fly at that height?

    If a flight causes a significant disruption to your normal life on your property then you may have a case against it. You can sue the one that passed over your house and you'd have to agree on an arbiter (third party dispute resolution expert) to make the decision. It could very well be determined by the arbiter that the flight was a violation of person's property and thus set a precedent for the future.

    Now note that precedents don't mean that everyone suddenly becomes obliged to follow the conclusions of that particular dispute. Another man *could* try to pass over again in hope that the man wont charge another dispute and that the arbiter wont rule against it *again*, but what are the odds?

    Finally, even before any of the above plays out the property owner could easily set up a defense against such flights by putting a more than 3 meter pole on the house (with light at the top) or even more extremely put up a defense gun. :P

    That alone would obviously mark his claim and ability to defend the claimed, thus making it effectively his property.

    Another reason not to want to live in the world of your dreams…)

    Come on, you know how ridiculous that sounds, right? Please be reminded you're talking about an example which you yourself described as over the top and that flying at such low altitudes is itself a pretty significant life risk which alone would deter most people. Not to mention it simply doesn't make sense to fly over only 2 meters above if you have to capability to fly over hundreds of meters and thus pass without causing any disruption whatsoever to the property below and any risk to your life.

    In my opinion I would own the whole space above my property up to halfway to the next inhabited natural object (which would be the moon if someone lived on it)

    Earth rotates around its axis you know. Moon rotates around Earth. On some days your property according to that claim would extend half way to the moon and most other days it would probably extend a bunch of light years. :D

    Of course, that's ridiculous and nobody would buy it. You neither have the capacity to go and mark such a "property" as your own nor defend it so… good luck with that. ;)

    Otherwise, if I would buy a previously unused area, I would only own its borders and the small part of it I might set foot on myself. Someone else might fly in, land in the middle and declare a part to be their own?

    Why are you deliberately misunderstanding me? Do you really think that's what I said? If you enclose a previously unowned (unclaimed, unmarked, unused) with your borders who in their right mind would assume the middle of it isn't yours? Geez, come on.. that'd be an easy job for an arbiter. Try to "enclose" an entire air and space strip above your property though! Clearly not the same damn thing.

    That just doesn’t make sense.

    You make it not make sense misinterpreting it. :P

    I disagree. Being locked up only when you do something that can sensibly be considered bad behavior is MUCH better than being locked up by default.

    Sensibly considered bad behavior? That's so imprecise. Define sensibly. Define bad behavior. Define considered: by whom? Why is his her or their consideration somehow more correct than my own?

    You can't resolve that.

  • mr reply

    …the property owner could easily set up a defense against such flights by putting a more than 3 meter pole on the house (with light at the top) or even more extremely put up a defense gun.

    So to keep my captive villagers, all I would have to do is buy a sufficiently large gun? Even if they could manage to build a spaceship, it won't be very high before it passes over my property.

    As for my property extending to halfway to the moon (if the moon were inhabited), sorry for the inaccurate wording. That should have been halfway to the orbit of the moon, and never any further. The reason is that if the moon would at some time be directly above my property, it would be unclear who was trespassing on whose property if mine or that of the guy on the moon would extend any further.

    If you enclose a previously unowned (unclaimed, unmarked, unused) with your borders who in their right mind would assume the middle of it isn’t yours?

    Someone who wanted to live there, obviously :P . But seriously, you said that having visited a place (or, I assume, buying it from someone who has visited, or who bought it from, etc) is needed for owning it. And that does sound a lot like a law, one of the kind that is created by a government, not one of the "no smoking"-sign type you would encounter in your proposed society.

    Define sensibly. Define bad behavior. Define considered: by whom?

    Sensibly considered bad behavior in the sense that any sane person would think "well, duh, of course that's a crime". In a nation where the government hasn't gone bad, you won't get jailed if you don't commit violence or attempt fraud (before you ask, yes, not paying your taxes is fraud). My poor villagers on the other hand are always jailed. It's very silly to think they got the better deal.

  • admin

    So to keep my captive villagers, all I would have to do is buy a sufficiently large gun? Even if they could manage to build a spaceship, it won’t be very high before it passes over my property.

    Yeah, as I said you could push that over the top example to endless heights and I could respond in kind with endless heights of my own. Let's just cut to what may be the ultimate height of this absurdity. My fellow villagers invent teleportation and we move in and out of our village at will. And you lose all our business for being such an ass. :P

    But seriously, you said that having visited a place (or, I assume, buying it from someone who has visited, or who bought it from, etc) is needed for owning it. And that does sound a lot like a law, one of the kind that is created by a government, not one of the “no smoking”-sign type you would encounter in your proposed society.

    I didn't say visiting it makes it your property. I assumed that if you've never been as high above your land you likely couldn't homestead it either. Homesteading is just the simple process of making what was previously unowned into something that's owned by you.

    To be unowned something needs to have no markings of ownership, no border, no signs, no clear signs of it being used (like land farmed or mined or dugg or whatever) and ideally no claims published anywhere if you wanna avoid disputes.

    In short if you come to a land and you never see any signs of anyone having made it his or her own you can probably assume it's unowned and homestead it, which you can do by clearly marking it as owned and just to be sure, publish somewhere that you own it.

    And no this isn't a law akin to government's laws. It's a simple fact. How do you expect anyone to know something if you didn't tell them? Hence marking and the sign. If you don't do that then clearly you can't expect someone to be liable for property violation if they didn't even know it was your property.

    When disputes over this arise it is an arbiter that you agreed to (as well as the other party) which decides the matter (because you agreed to that). So nowhere in all this does coercion arise, because there is consent and agreement all along.

    Basically the voluntaryist way of organizing always seeks the path through agreement, contract, consent etc. Voluntaryism can also be called "agreementism", "contractism", "consentualism" etc.

    Statist way of organizing (coercionist) instead too often seeks to solve issues through coercion.. without bothering to ask, to incentivize, to bargain etc. Just force people your way – and the result is, well, democracy: the ultimate gang warfare. Everyone votes to use force against everyone to comply to their own opinions, and the biggest gang wins. Tough for everyone else. So crude, cruel and primitive.

    Sensibly considered bad behavior in the sense that any sane person would think “well, duh, of course that’s a crime”.

    LOL

    You just rephrased yourself. You said absolutely nothing new. Who defines "sane"?

    In a nation where the government hasn’t gone bad, you won’t get jailed if you don’t commit violence or attempt fraud

    That's just your opinion. Why is your opinion any more correct than my own? Who are you to say?

    (before you ask, yes, not paying your taxes is fraud)

    Wow.

    Give me 1000 EUR or I'll send a gang to kidnap you. If you don't do that you'll be committing fraud and so I will determine an appropriate punishment for that crime. Why fraud? Because you see, I am sending you a nice smartphone right now, branded by my gang, and this phone costed money you know.. So if you don't pay me $1000 you'll be having a nice new smartphone which you didn't pay for.

    Alright?

    My poor villagers on the other hand are always jailed. It’s very silly to think they got the better deal.

    Your poor villagers are a figment of your imagination in your very over the top example which can be easily countered by actually less over the top examples of my own. Remember?

    You're amazing. :)

  • admin

    Speaking of over the top examples, to truly do you justice I would have to point to something worse than North Korea or WW2 Germany instead of democracies of today when trying to disprove the necessity of government.

    Yeah, people in concentration camps sure got the better deal.

    No don't scream. I know that's not quite what you're advocating. It's just my very over the top example of what could happen when people, like you, continue believing in initiating violence as morally justifiable.

    So.. my friend, your examples and arguments are bankrupt (have been for a long time, but you keep coming back for more pwning, guess you like it).

  • mr reply

    The point is, having a hierarchy of power is the natural state of humanity that it will always fall back to. It's the emergent order that always appears when you put a number of people together.

    There is a problem with the way this order emerges: it always starts with an individual or small group screwing everyone else (in the metaphorical sense, mind you :P ) and grabbing power. After that, the system either slowly evolves towards more freedom, or another group uses violence to grab power for themselves, leading to a cycle of violence and oppression.

    So if you remove the hierarchy and move to voluntaryism, don't be surprised when some of the children or grandchildren of the idealists who created your "free state" makes a big oppressive mess.

    Now I'm not an evil person so I can't easily come up with ways to subvert your particular flavor of freedom that don't appear silly and over the top, but I'm pretty sure the method I pulled out of my rear in this thread could be made to work. The only real difference with the medieval method of conquering a city is that I buy the land around the city instead of just letting my army take that land by force. That difference is quite alarming – it's not just possible to seize power, it can even be done without stopping being a voluntaryist. A person more evil than me surely could come up with a less obvious lock-in business practice, and with the social tools available to a voluntaryist there is nothing you could do to get rid of your dictator.

    I very much prefer a system – any system – in which the leaders can be kicked out of their position and replaced without resorting to violence.

    By the way, it's spelled "owning", learn to type :P .

  • admin

    The point is, having a hierarchy of power is the natural state of humanity that it will always fall back to. It’s the emergent order that always appears when you put a number of people together.

    You could say that it is an emergent "order" among humans whom still believe in initiation of force and fraud or at least never think about it enough to realize when they're actually doing or supporting it.

    But assuming that this can never change is assuming that evolution never happens, but that assumption is countered by long term historical and empirical evidence. From monarchies to democracies (as flawed as they are). From Earth centric view of the universe to Einstein's relativity. From primitive technologies of the cave men to sophisticated 21st century technology, evolution is clearly happening.

    And none of it could happen if it weren't for the evolution of prevalent human thinking; ideas. You cannot create something without first having it as an idea. You cannot discover a new understanding without daring to think differently.

    So the key has always been in the mind, the ideas. Influence a change in prevalent thinking among living humans and you have changed the world, instigating a new observable evolutionary leap.

    So if you become convinced yourself that you own yourself, have the right to your life, liberty and property and its defense and that everyone else has the same – non-coercion emerges as the ultimate moral principle. Convince most other people in your community of that and the evolution will begin to happen.

    You could just say it is impossible so why bother trying, but that's a self-fulfilling prophecy. It isn't impossible for you so it must be possible for others too. You can't justify evil by the fact that there's too much of it, obviously.

    That's what I'm doing. I reject the status quo. I reject the idea that evolution cannot happen. I evolved. Many other people did. That's enough proof for me that it is possible.

    So you can continue there making excuses for your coercive order or you can try your best to turn it into a non-coercive one.

    And don't let the fact you depend on current government stop you. It doesn't matter. You lead your life, you can empower yourself more than any government can. Their funds mean nothing. You can in time create your own wealth.

    There is a problem with the way this order emerges: it always starts with an individual or small group screwing everyone else

    Yes, when most of everyone else is duped into believing resistance to that minority is futile (like today) and don't have a solid grasp of the non-coercion principle and why exactly is it so valid.

    There have been stable anarchies in the past, some lasting for centuries, but they eventually collapsed into a coercive society because they initially developed "accidentally" so to speak, without a true deliberate grasp of the non-coercion principle. Today is different. The voluntaryist philosophy is about deliberate rejection of coercion and there is plenty of readily accessible material providing rational and empirically backed reasoning for its validity.

    So if you remove the hierarchy and move to voluntaryism, don’t be surprised when some of the children or grandchildren of the idealists who created your “free state” makes a big oppressive mess.

    You're again overlooking, aside from the parental influence and natural simplicity of these ideas, the fact that everyone believes in self-defense so any such statist uprising is more likely than not, to be doomed. It's one thing to rise a gang among people who are unarmed and defenseless and quite another to do so among people who are armed, trained and have absolutely no qualms about defending themselves.

    The only real difference with the medieval method of conquering a city is that I buy the land around the city instead of just letting my army take that land by force. That difference is quite alarming – it’s not just possible to seize power, it can even be done without stopping being a voluntaryist.

    That's just rehashing the beaten enough example. We need not to go around in circles. All I've said as counter examples still apply, including the reference to the worst case scenario of your coercionism (WW2 Germany, North Korea etc.).

    A person more evil than me surely could come up with a less obvious lock-in business practice, and with the social tools available to a voluntaryist there is nothing you could do to get rid of your dictator.

    First of all, you're not convincing me with your gradient of evil. Whether there is someone more or less evil than you is a very subjective matter and has no bearing towards the facts and possibilities.

    Secondly, yes there is a lot you can do. Everyone has a culture of self defense, and weapons of self defense, unlike in modern democracies.

    I very much prefer a system – any system – in which the leaders can be kicked out of their position and replaced without resorting to violence.

    But the default state of democracy already IS violence. Majority forces their will on minority even when the difference between the two is dismal.

    Face it already, it doesn't work. You're defending a crude old primitive system.

  • mr reply

    You’re again overlooking, aside from the parental influence and natural simplicity of these ideas, the fact that everyone believes in self-defense so any such statist uprising is more likely than not, to be doomed. It’s one thing to rise a gang among people who are unarmed and defenseless and quite another to do so among people who are armed, trained and have absolutely no qualms about defending themselves.

    The thing is, I'm attacking them using an unfair but peaceful business practice. I'm not initiating force, just buying land and keeping people off my property. If they choose to "defend" themselves against that using those weapons and training, they stop being voluntaryists.

    A place where it is OK to initiate force against someone whose business practice you disagree with is NOT a voluntaryist society.

    That’s just rehashing the beaten enough example. We need not to go around in circles. All I’ve said as counter examples still apply, including the reference to the worst case scenario of your coercionism (WW2 Germany, North Korea etc.).

    Examples of ugly coercion are not counterexamples to a method to abuse non-initiation of force. Farmer A tells farmer B "your horse has escaped from the barn". Farmer B replies "no it hasn't, because your cows are in your meadow". You're farmer B.

  • admin

    The thing is, I’m attacking them using an unfair but peaceful business practice. I’m not initiating force, just buying land and keeping people off my property.

    Oh, you meant that as part of that example. Well… as I said, we've beaten that horse already. That likelihood of that scenario is lesser than the likelihood of Netherlands becoming a fascist dictatorship. Reread my past comment on that.

    A place where it is OK to initiate force against someone whose business practice you disagree with is NOT a voluntaryist society.

    Yes.

    Examples of ugly coercion are not counterexamples to a method to abuse non-initiation of force. Farmer A tells farmer B “your horse has escaped from the barn”. Farmer B replies “no it hasn’t, because your cows are in your meadow”. You’re farmer B.

    Backtrack a little there, you're trying to prove voluntaryism leads to worse consequences than justifying a little coercion (which appears to be your belief), remember?

    So it's perfectly valid of me to point examples of justifying coercion leading to even worse scenarios. And examples I named aren't even fiction like yours.

    Cause, if you need to be reminded, that's what we're fundamentally hung up on: coercion vs. non-coercion.. dude. :D

    But sometimes it seems like you come arguing for arguments sake, rather than to enlighten me or any other.. higher purpose.. I'm usually keep replying just cause I can't resist it, but I think I am (and have on some occasions) coming to the point at which I could just say.. stop it, just drop it. This is so fucking pointless. Go your way, enjoy your ideas, don't go trying to convince someone you should have figure by now you aren't capable of convincing. We're a mutually lost cause.

    Cheers

  • mr reply

    Speaking of fiction, your only method to get out of a situation of monopoly abuse other than violence is teleportation :) .

    I'm not saying that anarcho-capitalism leads to worse things than statism, I'm saying that anarcho-capitalism can easily be hijacked to become a very bad type of statism, without any initiation of force by the oppressor.

  • admin

    Speaking of fiction, your only method to get out of a situation of monopoly abuse other than violence is teleportation :) .

    Only after your example became fictive enough to warrant such a response. It's still a fictive example whereas WW2 Germany, Mao's China or North Korea actually happened.

    And actually.. even USA is a pretty horrid example of what statism leads to, and this was even very minimal statism (USA started off as a minarchy of sorts). Yet they pretty much did a genocide on native american population, induced an excuse to get into WW2, killed millions of people in their modern wars (Iraq, Afghanistan etc..) and tortured people in camps (Guantanamo, US prisons which can also be known as "rape cells"). In total, US could be seen as the single worst statist power in history, and yet it started only with a little bit of coercion.

    I’m not saying that anarcho-capitalism leads to worse things than statism, I’m saying that anarcho-capitalism can easily be hijacked to become a very bad type of statism, without any initiation of force by the oppressor.

    But it wouldn't be statism (statism needs coercion) and you can't really claim how bad it is when all you could do is play catch up with me on how could the villagers and the surrounding property owner outsmart each other. Aside from being totally unplausible (too expensive to pull off as it'd most likely generate a hell of ostracism on part of others aside from that surrounded village) it's not even so unresolvable.

    And since I can easily point to *actual* examples of worse statism, and now you seem to admit it can lead to worse things, isn't voluntaryism an idea worth pursuing? You only need to change yourself to change the world – you're the beginning of the world you know.

  • mr reply

    In total, US could be seen as the single worst statist power in history, and yet it started only with a little bit of coercion.

    Perhaps that's because it started with too little rather than too much?

    too expensive to pull off as it’d most likely generate a hell of ostracism on part of others aside from that surrounded village

    Why would I care about the people outside the village ostracizing me? I've got the village, and since I was able to buy such amounts of land that I could surround it, I'm probably rich enough to own enough land to grow my own food and make my own things (where "me" means myself and the helpful boot lickers who think I'm cool because I'm a bully).

    And again, this is only a method of lock-in that is easy to understand, it's not like there aren't thousands of others…

    Remove a state, and within time you'll get another state, one that is worse than what you had before because it hasn't gone through the fight for democracy yet.

  • mr reply

    I should add…

    And since I can easily point to *actual* examples of worse statism, and now you seem to admit it can lead to worse things, isn’t voluntaryism an idea worth pursuing?

    We agree that bad statism is bad. What we disagree on is whether or not voluntaryism will collapse and be succeeded by something very much like all those examples you provided.

    You only need to change yourself to change the world – you’re the beginning of the world you know.

    Or the end.

  • admin

    Perhaps that’s because it started with too little rather than too much?

    Geez. Well if that's the case it certainly got enough more of it in the coming decades, so it was at the stage at which you might see it as "reasonable", yet it obviously didn't stop there.

    Why would I care about the people outside the village ostracizing me? I’ve got the village, and since I was able to buy such amounts of land that I could surround it, I’m probably rich enough to own enough land to grow my own food and make my own things (where “me” means myself and the helpful boot lickers who think I’m cool because I’m a bully).

    So I guess your pockets have no bottom? You'll never run out of your money even when you can't sell anything you produce? Yet you still have to pay those boot lickers to farm your land as well as the machinery and seeds necessary to farm them. Or are you gonna produce all of that by yourself?

    You're getting more and more absurd, and I know, there's no limit to absurdity. You can go all the way, write a whole fictional story, but that's no longer an analogy for anything, just your imagination.

    And again, this is only a method of lock-in that is easy to understand, it’s not like there aren’t thousands of others…

    Because you say so. :P

    Remove a state, and within time you’ll get another state, one that is worse than what you had before because it hasn’t gone through the fight for democracy yet.

    Because you keep saying so. I've provided countless of arguments to the contrary which you couldn't refute, not least of which is the one standing in front of your nose: Advocating non-coercion isn't the same as merely advocating anarchy (statelessness) with people as they are.

    As I said before I'm not advocating the immediate removal of the state, but an evolution in thinking to one that is oriented at voluntary interaction rather than coercion. When everyone rejects coercion you wont HAVE to remove the state, it will simply wither away or turn into a private company doing business without coercion.

    What we disagree on is whether or not voluntaryism will collapse and be succeeded by something very much like all those examples you provided.

    The argument emphasized above is the reason why that simply doesn't make sense. Voluntaryism cannot "collapse". It's a mentality, not a system. If a free market turns back into any form of statism then there was no voluntaryist mentality to begin with, or people became corrupt again by coercion, which is the kind of corruption far less likely than all the corruption naturally occurring within any state because it depends on contradictory principles. Naturally self-interested individuals are expected to work in the interest of people whom they don't even know and merely see as a "crowd" to be campaigned.

    Or the end.

    So long as you exist that can't be true.

    Frankly Taco you don't know how to practice precise thinking nor how to avoid contradicting yourself. Your primary purpose is either to argue for the sake of arguing or defend your view at all costs (like sacrificing your intellectual honesty). And that's pretty pointless. I don't know how you can bear yourself.

  • mr reply

    You can go all the way, write a whole fictional story, but that’s no longer an analogy for anything, just your imagination.

    Tell that to Ayn Rand ;) .

    Because you say so.

    I'm pretty sure you can think of various examples of monopoly abuse, I shouldn't have to point each one out. The general principle is always the same.

    Advocating non-coercion isn’t the same as merely advocating anarchy (statelessness) with people as they are.

    OK, good luck changing the way the human brain works.

    When everyone rejects coercion…

    As long as there are two people who want to use the same object at the same moment, there will be one who thinks the other is coercing and didn't get "ownership" in a fair way.

    So long as you exist that can’t be true.

    OK, my mistake, even if you change the world into hell, it still exists.

    Frankly Taco you don’t know how to practice precise thinking nor how to avoid contradicting yourself.

    Same to you.

  • admin

    Tell that to Ayn Rand ;).

    I'm not a Randist. There may be lots of similarities in thinking regarding enlightened selfishness, but Ayn was a statist, and in that sense also similar to you.

    I’m pretty sure you can think of various examples of monopoly abuse, I shouldn’t have to point each one out. The general principle is always the same.

    You're the one advocating monopolies, and ones of the worst kind, where the company having a monopoly uses violence to keep competition out and customers locked in. Hint: I'm talking about the state, democratic or not.

    Also, Microsoft itself as well as many other corporations use the state to force competition out. Remove the state and "limited liability" enforced by state guns disappeared. Of course, I've already told you all this, and you still bring that shit up when you don't know what else to say. That's what intellectually dishonest people who can't accept losing an argument do.

    OK, good luck changing the way the human brain works.

    Human brain thinks. History shows there have been many shifts in prevalent mentality and widely accepted ideas. Your beloved democracy is one example, so I don't need luck. It will happen eventually, so long as people like me persist it will happen, and all you can do is cling to your politicians and the guns of the police to persecute those who think differently than you.

    But just like in that past, that wont stop change. Ideas are bullet proof.

    As long as there are two people who want to use the same object at the same moment, there will be one who thinks the other is coercing and didn’t get “ownership” in a fair way.

    Again, when you don't have anything better to say you backtrack to old arguments which you already tried and failed at before. That's why we always end up going in circles.

    To respond to that I would have to YET AGAIN, talk about the arbitration process, which is much like the current courts except without a monopoly, much less biased and much more specific to the situation at hand (no one shoe fits all bullshit called state laws – the only "law" are prior agreements).

    Same to you.

    Dream on. The above is such a clear substantiation of my claim that you lack capability of precise thinking or intellectual honesty. When you don't know what else to say you go back to same old arguments which you've already tried and failed at, not to mention that you just somehow "forgot" to think about what precisely is involved in an example that you devise, like ownership dispute. You just assume the next easiest thing that seems like it can support your view.

    You lack the capability of precise thinking exactly because you're drowning in cognitive biases. I know, you'll throw the same accusation at me, and that's quite easily predictable, but again and again and AGAIN, I'm not the one claiming to have all the knowledge of the world or how should humans best behave, which is exactly why I'm a voluntaryist. I'm not the one condoning putting guns in people's faces when they disagree with my vision of the world.

    That's you my friend. And that makes you intellectually defenseless. When the gun is your end all and be all – coercion – every argument is ultimately superfluous.

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