On my mind

I tend to think IQ is somewhat overrated. As an example, I’ve met people who are smarter than me, but the realm of experiences available to them just seems smaller than mine. This is what happens when you have a hypersensitive personality: Your brain overprocesses everything. That’s not necessarily positively correlated to IQ, because it’s per definition not efficient, whereas IQ is suggestive of an efficient brain. I’d rather have a big brain than an efficient brain. I’ll give an example:

Now there are two ways you might respond to this: You might say “Haha yeah” and scroll on. Or, if you happen to be like me, it clicks. You sink into your own mind. You’re there. The truck begins to manifest itself, you feel as if you’re sitting high above the road. You gaze at the desert that ends in claustrophobic darkness, as you impatiently wait for the first sign of the next motel you’re going to stay at. You hear the mad caller rambling about the Chupacabra he saw on his porch twenty years ago and for a brief moment you wonder: “What if?”

And the whole vision becomes captivated, compressed into the timbre of a song, specifically just the guitar tune at the start of this song:

And you might say: “But why? Why this song, made in 2017?” Because it’s hypnagogic pop: It’s entirely meant to capture the memories of a past that haunt us in the present. Ariel Pink was born in 1978 and said in interviews he wanted to be 21 forever. So the song is supposed to sounds like what we now imagine music we’d hear in 1999 would sound like.

And I don’t invent this on the spot. I’m just trying to capture in words, how my brain functions, what happens in my mind within a few moments of seeing 127 characters on Twitter.

When I began working from home a few years ago, every evening I had one of two options:

  1. I can do my job properly, spending my time verifying people’s transactions to make sure they’re not being scammed.
  2. I can vaporize a small bit of weed, put on some music and become utterly immersed in it, to directly pick up on every tiniest bit of meaning to be found in every instrument, to understand the whole picture, to cause everything to have such profound meaning and extreme beauty that I can only scream like a maniac into a pillow so that hopefully the neighbors won’t complain.

And in this sense, it’s utterly paralyzing. It’s much easier to be a productive member of society if most of the things you run into just don’t mean much to you. And if I had this with one genre, I suppose I’d grow bored of it eventually and be able to move on with my life. But I seem to have it with everything, generally for a few months to a year until I have exhausted it and move on to the next thing.

And in a sense it almost begins to feel like an obligation for me. And I cringe at the thought, I’m embarrassed to admit it, yet that is genuinely how it sometimes feels. Someone dedicated much of his life to making vaporwave music videos out of Spongebob episodes. There are a total of 17,000 people who have seen this:

No normal functional member of society has the time and energy to produce what this guy produces. So what is the noble path? Is it to file your taxes, to pick up the phone and talk to the customers? Or is it to bask in the genius and insanity that no more than 17,000 people in the world seem able to recognize? Is it to extract every last single drop of meaning, to fully immerse yourself in the vision of an artist who will be lost to time, who will die forgotten with the rest of us along with his vision, once the electrical grid collapses?

My mother noticed this when I was a child, that I became obsessed with something for months, until I exhausted it and moved on to the next thing. And my poor mother was trying to somehow figure out how to fit this into a societal framework: “Well you’re watching Jurassic Park for the seventh time now, maybe you want to become a paleontologist?”

And I don’t just have it with music, I have it with Indie games too. And of course I have it with the environment around me. A red neon sign when I walk through Rotterdam at 1 AM in the rain in the middle of winter, after I vaped a bit of cannabis? I’m captivated. I’m consumed by qualia.

We often say to people who study Archeology, or Cultural Anthropology, or Philosophy or Art History, or anything else along those lines that there’s no demand for it, that society desperately needs plumbers and nurses and people who studied STEM. But I don’t think that’s fair: IF YOUR BRAIN CAN EXPERIENCE WHAT IT MEANS, YOU’RE PART OF A RARE MINORITY IN SOCIETY AND HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO BASK IN IT.

Do we really need someone to write about the herbal knowledge of Pomo hunter-gatherers in rural California from the late 19th century, when people are dying on the streets of San Francisco today? When you truly bask in something, when you submit to the experience and immerse yourself in it, then you dignify its creator. And if the creators became the victims of sex slavery and genocide, then there is very much something to be said for that.

I guess I could turn it off. I could ditch the cannabis, become like the average white collar American and start functioning on Aderall and Caffeine and become a productive member of society. But I can’t say I want to. And I can’t even say I feel guilty about that. I can hardly see myself doing a white collar job ever again.

I suppose I could imagine myself maintaining a graveyard. To wake up at 6AM and ride your bicycle to work, to see the beams of light reflected in the fog around the moss-covered gravestones at 7 as you start your shift, as your head hurts and every nerve in your body suffers because your entire personality is incompatible with waking up early, that is a spiritual experience. And maybe then you’ll learn something the Aghori know.

One week into my tolerance break now, I feel as if I understand how to articulate what I really want from life in words: To find somewhere in the vast expanding darkness, bright specks of light that everyone else ignores.

25 Comments

  1. So in your mind, if you are not choosing cannabis, that means you choose aderall and cafeine? Huh. Interesting false dichotomy. What you lack is the imagination and creativity of the vast possibilities in between.

  2. Rust Cohle, the fictional detective, applied his yearning for the dead-end of meaning towards facing and confronting the monsters his society keeps supplied with toys and fortunes and victims, and in the end of our narrative with him, after he tells Marty about his lucid dream passing through the loss of his own definition into the darkness beyond darkness, knowing with certainty his dead daughter and grandfather on the other side of that thick wet dark, feeling there only a totality of love when letting go of life’s burden, comments about his stories about the Alaskan stars that “It’s just one story, the oldest… Light versus dark.”

    Marty says that it appears to him that the Dark has a lot more territory. But Rust says, “You’re looking at it wrong, the sky thing…” “How’s that?” “Once there was only dark. You ask me, the light’s winning.” And Marty just chuckles as he supports Rust and they together exit the scene. As the camera pans upwards, what is one faint dot on a black screen is soon slowly joined by other faint dots.

    Of course, those stars must fade, and the credits roll, and the lyrics sing on and the digital copy finishes, and you go on your way.

  3. About https://twitter.com/tradsperger/status/1641931747695656964?s=20

    I played your Neville Chamberlain game on GPT-4 – https://pastebin.com/1AaZB2e4

    The AI always regarded my choices as positive. Probably needs to be coaxed into making the player play the game on “hard mode”, also maybe pace three months at a time rather than one. You only get 25 messages per 3 hours on GPT-4 which you could burn through in one sitting easily. GPT-4 is the bomb tho.

    • Thanks a lot.

      I ran into the opposite version of this problem: Approval ratings consistently dropped for me by about 2% every month in 3.5. I’m going to edit the script a bit and try again.

  4. This one js good. It almost sounds like Philosophy with meta elements. I really enjoyed it. It brings some of that sweet pain which was haunting the roman stoics.
    On the other hand it seems that you have stuck yourself into oscillation move between two opposite extremes of yhe same spectrum. Which again is sweet and romantic.

  5. This is beautiful. I had very similar tendencies when I young and smoked a lot of weed, but sadly I submitted to the machine, and after many years of corporate servitude and domestication I have indeed become comfortably numb. I am hoping psychedelics will help me reclaim that spark.

    The world needs people like you, not more mindless white collar drones.

    • What makes you think all these normal looking people that they are mindless? Because you have this fabricated superiority complex that you are somehow bette than an average person? If you are not stellar in some non trivial way by the time you are an adult, you are the text-book case of mediocrity by definition. Sorry to hurt your fragile ego, you are what average looks like, and we all are.

      • The place where I volunteer has one paid employee. Most of the volunteers are reasonably intelligent. The paid employee, who is the “volunteer coordinator”, is of utterly average intelligence. She makes lots of stupid decisions, but no-one else can bear to do the boring crap that she does, so she gets to continue to do the boring crap and be paid. At the same time I have a relative by marriage who is does nothing but read and think; he is supported by my aunt; he hasn’t worked in decades. When she lets me call him, once a year or so, we have the happiest conversation; it is a highlight of my year. Whose life is more worthwhile? The volunteer coordinator, or my relative? Answer: they’re both worthwhile.

        Women have been badgering men to achieve for a very long time. But now if we want achievement, we can do it ourselves. It’s not an achievement to shame someone else to into doing something.

        • So you keep on volunteering at a place that is governed by someone you dismiss as inferior? I heard there is a saying, keeping on doing the same thing and expecting a result is what insanity looks like. You may have a high IQ on paper, but you clearly are not using it very wisely. As a person with at least 3-4 SD above the mean on IQ (depending on the exact testing methods), my advise is, your current work environment is making you dumber and you need to put yourself in a more mentally stimulating environment.

  6. Because of my IQ and education, my brother described my life, which consists in sitting around all day living in my own brain, as being the wasteful equivalent of a potlatch every day. Rintrah has a potlatch every hour!!! But really, the world is full of people who want to achieve and control and lead. It’s in their blood. Sure, they are morons, but it is what they want to do. Fighting one’s personal reality is a misery and accepting it, if that is an option, is a great relief.

    • What’s the obsession with IQ? One’s intelligence should be measured by the objective hardship or challenges that person overcomes with shear intellectual prowess. Who cares about a number that a formula (formulated by some mediocre psychology researcher decades ago) spits out that only takes a snapshot on a super narrowly defined concept of “intelligence”? So dumb. If one hasn’t put their impressivr IQ to use, then both the person and the IQ are useless. Nobody cares.

  7. Wait a second – in your post at 9:18 p.m., you refer to yourself as “a person with at least 3-4 SD above the mean on IQ (depending on the exact testing methods),” and you use your purported test results as a reason that you should be believed. If you aren’t concerned about IQ scores, why would you even bother to say that????

    Of course, there is also the question of why I am engaging in this discussion, haha. Sorry for wasting this space in your comment section, Rintrah.

    Best of wishes for your own productive activities ongoing. Nagging people online does not count as a productive activity.

    • You are the one who seems incapable of listening to advice unless the person talking to you shows you the receipt that they are on the same level of intelligence — I said what I said because that’s how shallow you behaved in your comments. I can care less about showing off to some internet stranger. Truly smart people actually have creative ways of finding each other and stay in company; only imposters cannot help but peacocking to the crowd like complaining about how boring everybody else is. Pathetic behaviors.

  8. I found Radagast from all the biochemistry analysis posts and thought you have been somewhat mentally entertaining, a first tell sign that someone is moderately intellectually capable. However, Because I cannot just stand by and watch people who willfully decide to waste their life and destroy their own future potentials, I decided to speak up despite having a crazy busy life myself. But clearly this is just a perpetual online party for people who are obsessed with self-pity and self-loathe and never want to actually face reality of life. I cannot help those who don’t want to be helped. The interesting biochem bit is already way oversaturated — the utility of this site to me is now zero. Peace out.

  9. Very interesting article! But your line of thought does not support your first statement: “IQ is somewhat overrated.”

    If you like, have a look at this book:

    The basic assumption of this book is that intelligence is by far the most important characteristic of mankind. Differences in intelligence have an effect in almost all areas of life – and this also applies to corruption. Using the example of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), I show that intelligence is by far the most important determinant of corruption. Moreover, there can be no variable that is independent of intelligence and that explains as much of the corruption variance as intelligence.”

    http://dx.doi.org/10.13140/RG.2.2.33753.06243

    In case you really want to argue that IQ is overrated you can exploit the common phenomenon that at lot of people with high IQ do a lot of really stupid things. So, what is IQ good for?

  10. I get it. But I’ve never needed or wanted cannabis for that. I’m taking it on faith that you need it, but… are you sure about that? I’ve always been able to look at stuff for a few seconds, and then everything around leaps into geometric patterns: leaves, grass, sand, carpet… there’s a pattern to everything. It is an effort to maintain integrity of self when faced with a complex tile pattern or a vintage wallpaper, or Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor, or Mahler’s 9th. So easy to go wandering in the pattern and lose track of where I’ve left my body, the time, my personal responsibilities.

    It gives me pause to find that complex repeating geometrics have traditionally been used to keep evil spirits at bay– if you surround a doorway with Greek key, for example, that disembodied spirits will follow the lines endlessly and get stuck. Just like me. Did I become a disembodied spirit when I followed the lines in there? It certainly felt that way.

    Hard to be a productive human being when I keep getting lost in the bathroom floor tiles. At some point I have to snuff it and wash the clothes. I don’t even want to know what THC would do to me. Probably would die in the woods, my uninhabited body slowly stiffening in the cold while I explored in spirit a particularly wonderful birchbark or moss. Mosses are captivating.

    But yeah, life is a long serious of intense obsessions. Reaching back, they’ve included… drawing detailed eyes in pencil (may have creeped out my parents a bit), stenciled geometric borders, freehand embroidery, herbal medicine, traditional closed-loop agricultural systems, weaving, cell respiration, Emerson Lake and Palmer, Sassanian coinage, furniture refinishing, fairy tale archetypes, insect photography, and Greek/Byzantine music theory. Probably a few others.

    My best guess on IQ is that it’s analogous to processing speed. A useful metric, but certainly not the only one. The most useful way I’ve seen of framing the thing is that the normal brain isn’t so much a processor or a sensory organ as it is a filter. We are inundated with stimuli all the time. Being functional is being able to filter out everything that isn’t immediately useful. Some of us… have crap filters. On the one hand, it lets us frolic in the garden of the forms, which is not without its rewards. On the other hand… we don’t function so well in day to day life. I’m sorry, what were you saying? I missed it because the leaves on the pavement were doing fractals. The flipside of being able to take in *all* of the details– to inhabit the pattern– is being constantly overwhelmed by stimuli, details, patterns, that I *don’t* want to inhabit. Not being able to ignore things that irritate, like strobey LED lighting, the sound of kids yelling on the next block, logical inconsistencies, itching, grammatical errors, or the stray hair on the back of someone else’s jacket. The hellish torment of being stuck in a subway car with someone who bathes in cheap cologne.

    I’m not sure the trade is worth it, but it’s not useful to perseverate on that question, as I don’t seem to have a choice in the matter.

    • You are a beautiful person, and I am thankful you are communicating. Please continue to be so open with your worlding!

    • I can see that. I was attempting to say that I find how you see the world is valuable and worth sharing, worth spending time with.

  11. Any other stock picks? I’ve waxed poetic about always agreeing with you, so I thought i’d get the vulgarities out of the way. For me personally, I don’t think I ever really exhaust and move on to a new thing, but go down a related path and end up always crossing over the same few constellations related to music, history, and literary arts. I’m trying to make an exit from white collar life, but I think I need to amass some more material resources and then decide on a few definite art projects to finally push me to do so.

    • I do not think I am an extraordinary good stock picker, my net worth is currently in the 400-500k euro range.

      I do continue picking stocks myself however, based on the following belief:

      -We have a moral obligation as market participants to pay a fair price for the things we buy. When we do not try to find undervalued stock but simply throw everything we own in index funds we contribute to distortions in the economy, which result in waste of resources, as well as misery and poverty for many.

      I do not know yet what the proper way is to spend my money, but I try to be charitable when I encounter situations where it appears appropriate to me. I am still in the process of learning how to properly use the resources available to me. Is it better to give directly to the homeless, or to a charity that promises to help them? These are the sort of difficult questions with which I find myself struggling.

  12. “that society desperately needs plumbers and nurses and people who studied STEM.”
    Dude I studied STEM and right now I’m passionately into some rare type of 1920’s roof framework.
    it’s gambling with my time, but still less insane than being a ‘functioning’ member of society. LOL!
    these are our times dude! fuck the rest!

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The patients in the mental ward have had their daily dose of xanax and calmed down it seems, so most of your comments should be automatically posted again. Try not to annoy me with your low IQ low status white male theories about the Nazi gas chambers being fake or CO2 being harmless plant food and we can all get along. Have fun!

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