Cosmo-Economics and the Metaphysics of Surprise
If the second law of thermodynamics -- i.e., the inevitable drift toward entropy -- is true, why then do so many processes wind up instead of winding down?
For example, we are told that the cosmos starts off in a state of such maxed out order that it will someday be possible to reduce its recipe to a simple equation or discrete tattoo.
And yet, the cosmic story doesn't end in an abyss of dissipation, nor arrive in a land of bland randomness. To the contrary: here we are as laughing proof, hosting the most irreducibly complex object in the entire universe right inside our very skulls.
Speaking of the guffah-HA! experience, this weekend I stumbled across a scientific explanation of it in Kahneman's provocative but not mandatory Thinking, Fast and Slow.
It has to do with the sudden intuition of a hidden coherence between seemingly unrelated words and concepts. When this occurs, "measurements of electrical activity in the muscles of your face" will detect "a slight smile."
He doesn't go into what happens with the experience of a BIG coherence -- the biggest of all known as God -- but the impression of coherence "appears to be mildly pleasurable in itself." No kidding.
And it can also work the other way around, a point we have made on many occasion, e.g., how a depressed mood dismantles our pneumacognitive links and plunges us into a space of lesser dimension.
Thus, there is explicit humor in this blog, but the most important comedy is implicit, always revolving around the inexhaustible punchline -- meaning it never gets old -- of cosmic wholeness. For it is written:
Lesson! My yokes are easy, my words enlight. Beholied!
At any rate, this question of complexification, of "winding up," is of course one of the recurring motifs of the ink and pulp version of the blog. One fine day, after nine or ten billion years of matter just doing what matter does, it suddenly comes to life. Wo. Didn't see that coming.
Then, just as suddenly, life becomes self-reflective and enters a higher-dimensional space of truth, beauty, virtue, luv, laffs, wholeness, etc. And in the past few posts we've been discussing how man's economic condition suddenly vaults into a new space some 300 years ago, again, after thousands of years of stasis. In each case, the system breaks out of order and into a higher realm. But how?
All you metaphysical Darwinians and other tenured apes out there, why engage in the auto-pullwoolery of pretending to understand? In your case you really do need to read Thinking, Fast and Slow, because you're all laboring under a lazy and simplistic narrative fallacy, a theory-induced blindness resulting in the illusion of understanding, all revolving around a substitute heuristic (in which you totally beg the question of what Life is) and instead persist in your deluded state of WYSIATI (What You See Is All There Is).
Or, as Gilder describes it, you need to abandon your "futilitarian, zero-sum view of the universe," which "reduces credulous biologists and neuroscientists to the intellectual penury of a materialist superstition that denies the objective significance of their own scientific thinking." So, crawl out from under your academic crock and into the light!
For the cosmos -- the real cosmos, not your dead and hollowed out abstraction of it -- "is an engine of ideas, an information system, like an economy." (Although I would put it the other way around: a functioning economy is a microcosmos.) "It is a singularity full of detailed and improbable information. It is a 'super-surprise.'"
Again: it is the ultimate guffah-HA! experience.
You might be asking yourself: how is all this cosmic happy talk, this odious pneumababbling, different from merely deepaking the chopra? Well, for starters, it results in conclusions that are exactly the opposite of his Obama-worshiping liberal fascism. For
"The supply side, with all its intricacies of goods and services, commands far more information than the homogeneous money-dominated demand side." Top-down order "means lack of surprise and absence of creativity." Which is precisely why Obama's LoFo base of useful idiots is so surprised at his economic failures. But that's not surprise -- rather, the opposite. Nor is the joke funny to its victims.
Now, we do need order in order for the order to yield upside surprisal. However, this order must be at the "bottom," so to speak -- better, the foundation -- not imposed at the top by an all-powerful state. But the left specializes in imposing order at the top, while destroying it at the bottom, resulting in social and economic disorder.
The stable, low-entropy order includes such things as "moral codes, constitutional restraints, personal discipline, educational integrity, predictable laws, reliable courts, stable money, trustworthy finance, strong families, dependable defense, and police powers," not to mention sane and sober leadership and orthodox religious beliefs. This is where the real exceptions of American exceptionalism lay.
Thus, "All the surprising singularities of creative capitalism depend on the boring regularities of political order.... The entire saga of the history of the West conveys the courage and sacrifice necessary to enforce and defend these values against their enemies."
In short, conservatives defend the Permanent Things so as to engender real hope for improvement in one's material circumstance, and to facilitate benevolent change, i.e. progress. Conversely, progressives poison the conditions of progress at the root. They undermine and denigrate the Permanent Things that make progress possible, replacing them with their relativistic fantasies and malignant dreams.