Surfing multi-century hurricanes, one gamete at a time.

Extending our conversation last week into the almighty forum:i

Pete D: Is the future not cicada meets ouroboros?

113: Yes. This is my mental model for the world finally. Anytime I say “surfing a hurricane” I basically mean that. The cicada swarm-flocking in an ouroboros and me hang ten atop that trying not to wipeout too hard. Or the “throw yourself out of the airplane and build a parachute on the way down” (which I think was a quote from Reid Hoffman).ii

Pete: Che bella. But what is the parachute, one may ask, if not our children? Doesn’t a “hurricane suit” look like an aligned army of successors to carry the torch of goodness through the darkness and beyond? I mean if we’re actively building BMI then that’s great too, but for those of us who aren’t Neuralink employees and researchers… How else to survive the hurricane, which may last for generations?

113: I think internet and computing basically just started.iii So it’s not clear we have the right relationship to it enmasse to distribute. When you say “aligned army of successors” I don’t think we have any meaningful alignment tech here yet. I think this very site itself seems related to formulations of alignment and coordination that a systems modeling media 1) lets one think about that uniquely and in new ways and 2) systems can be enacted as infrastructure in the context of networked computers.

Pete: It’s not the tech that needs alignment, it’s us and our successors. We wanna end up more like Arnault and less like Sting.iv

113: I generally am neutral on crypto. I think it’s about as good as it is bad. One of the handful of utopian aspects to me is that it’s a sci-fi image of possibility: new coordination gadgetry can appear through networked computers. I think my answer is I don’t feel equipped to genuinely address the task set out in your question. “how can we help everyone navigate this”. My answer at this point is roughly… I’m not sure I have a meaningful formulation for that, or can even think about the context.

Pete: This isn’t quite the question so allow me to restate: how can YOU help YOURSELF navigate this. And to the extent that you are also your gametes, how can your progeny finish what you’ve started, given the extremely likely circumstance that our mortal efforts go unfinished and we hope that our progress is not lost with us.

113: But if I zoom out to macro societal level problems even more direct and urgent priorities appear, like how am I not directly dedicating my full life to getting all people clean water, or eradicating hunger? It’s more something selfishly anchored and art/culture related for me.

Pete: Clean water and eradicating hunger are not worthwhile societal goals imo.v Reaching the highest heights of arts, culture, infrastructure, architecture, science, and discovery are what success looks like, which may sadly be in direct tension with goals of eradicating hunger. But I know which world I’d rather leave to my children and its one where Mozart, Vermeer, and the Notre Dame Cathedral are possible and elevated, not the one where “every child has a laptop.”

113: Maybe in a way it’s a really cruel answer I have: “Be more surfer than ostrich,” but that is unpopular and being an individual where I try to have the courage to even display that because there’s implicitly lots of ostrich injunction.

Pete: Accepting the premise this historical moment demands more surfing than ostriching, doesn’t it seem of fairly vital import that your (apparently excellent) genes be around to see and shape the future of computing? To be the surfer is to ride the wave for as long as possible, and ultimately to make sure that the torch gets passed on and that you aren’t the last to keep it lit. Curious to see if this expanded thesis changes the trajectory of your thinking even 0.01 degrees.

113: As a currently-non-progeny-having-person + currently-volcel-hikki-neet, I can only assume I would set them fully free to direct their consciousness however.

Pete: What does “fully free” mean in your mind? Because in extremis it looks like complete abrogation from parenting even to the point of giving your offspring up for adoption (or at least sending them to full time boarding school as early as possible) but somehow I don’t think that’s what you meant. Because to my mind, and MT may have a different/better lens on this, parenting is the art of cultivating worthiness and excellence. And this process is no more “fully free” for the child than a mentee is “fully free” from their mentor, or a player from a coach, or even a computer console from its user (master)

113: Yes it’s a nonsense ideal.vi It’s a general principle of mine with other adults, extrapolated too far to a thing I can’t claim to honestly be able to think in as someone not deep in the actual life of raising children. Freedom is a nonsense idea in general

Pete: Freedom is a loaded term today because we mostly think of it as freedom FROM when it was historically and more correctly understood to be freedom FOR.

113: I think when I said “fully free” I meant about as free as makes sense.. grappling with the common questions of how much pressure <-> influence a parent has on the decision their offspring have in choosing life paths… It’s just a lifelong endlessly nuanced question for a parent tho I’m sure and shorthanding. For you though it’s part of how you think about a life purpose and mission though, Pete? As in, one would choose how to relate to hurricane & surf condition in tandem with expectations one puts on a child?

Pete: Definitely. Because I don’t see surfing as ending with me — the hurricane may last for centuries or more.vii And whatever I may be achieving in this life is only as an extension of the achievements of my ancestors, and is only honoured and valid to the extent that I make my own contributions and, as it were, train my replacements. This is what succession planning means to me, granting that the genetic lottery manifest in my offspring will give me the tools it gives me, and no more.viii Thankfully I’ve been very blessed with excellent tools to work with, which only inspires me to reach for higher heights because I know that my boys are more than capable of extending our success towards the stars even further (metaphorically and literally).

Higher up the mountain, towards the peak of the pyramid, where consciousness divines,ix towards the stars from which we all came, and to which we long to return. Surge! x

  1. Adnotated and edited for clarity and context.
  2. Mr. Hoffman’s exact quote is: “Starting a company is like jumping out of an airplane and assembling the parachute on the way down.”
  3. The concept of the Internet and computing having just started has been discussed previously on these pages, particularly with respect to Brancusi, Apple Vision Pro, and “flattening mirrors.” 
  4. Forbes: British Rocker Sting Says His Children Won’t Inherit Much From Him.
  5. Clean water is actually pretty important but I’m mostly just being provocative to get 113 out of his comfort zone! He’s very bright but very bright people can often get lost in youthful ideals. It’s great to have ideals in general but the overly youthful (read: naïve) sort aims of “zero pedestrian deaths” or “zero tolerance for bad words” or “no child left behind” are the kind that sell well to the masses (mostly women and “safety-oriented” types) but don’t actually hold up to any kind of serious inspection grounded in either physics, genetics, or history.
  6. We’re making progress!
  7. Even millennia!
  8. Honestly had we hand-picked embryos we couldn’t have come up with one Athenian and one Spartan, each of whom are 6-sigma all-stars on entirely different axes, yet here we are. Hashem lookin’ out for us!

    That being said, if if there’s one dimension in which I’m genuinely poor, it’s number of progeny. Hopefully I can persuade my boys to have at least 4-5 kids each. The future of our surname depends on it!

     

  9. Could every great empire‘s obsession with Pyramids be explained by the shape of the Layer V Cortical Pyramid Neurons that form the apex of our consciousness? Stuart Hameroff lays some important groundwork in his 2022 paper Consciousness, Cognition and the Neuronal Cytoskeleton – A New Paradigm Needed in Neuroscience:

    So yes, it’s “energies” and “vibes” all the way down… and up! Now I gotta ask, bro, are you even esoteric-maxxing?

  10. Towards the stars… is it any wonder I’m crushing on the Patek 5102G right now, which features a celestial complication with three overlaid sapphire disks to track the heavens above from the perspective of about 46 degrees North Latitude, which is to say Ottawa, Venice, Ulaanbaatar, and of course Geneva? Damned ACM and their stunning wristshots…

3 thoughts on “Surfing multi-century hurricanes, one gamete at a time.

  1. […] are asked to play a key role in future generations of geopolitical chess by the world’s post-hurricane remnants. No matter how many centuries from now that may […]

  2. […] nor visionary enough to execute again in our current environment.vi If that’s not a “hurricane,” what […]

  3. […] So with all of this on the table, what’s does success really look like for the staunchest advocates of Crypto? Perhaps it’s just a good life and a bit of self-referential Soft Power. Maybe it’s not world-changing, but it’s probably at least up to the 3% Rulexvii for improvement. And maybe that’s just enough to surf the hurricane. […]

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