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Messages - idgo

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1
General LHP Discussion / Re: over reliance on magic
« on: June 29, 2020, 10:27:45 pm »
Devotion is unquestionably useful in its place. I brought it up only to point out that the devotion-of-desparation, "help, somebody bigger than me please come fix this because I can't" mindset sounds like it may be near where Kapalika is at right now, and it's a bit of a Hotel California of a mindset once you check into it very deeply.

One of my favorite uses of devotion is to build it up pointing at someone or something I believe to be better than myself, then once I'm ready, breaking that illusion of its superiority and pointing all the dangling references left around my head to refer to myself instead.

I think it's worth differentiating between depending on the continued effects of a single cause, vs depending on continued new causes. Some of my everyday practices might be described as magical by an observer, but they're habits that don't cost me a new exertion of effort to continue once they're in place, so I don't regard them as being new workings in any meaningful sense. Choosing to establish such a habit is absolutely a new working, though -- it's quite costly in time, energy, thought, etc. To me, a "big working" usually revolves around identifying and clarifying a particular goal and then evaluating all my habits and amending them to increase the probability of the goal being attained. Then again, I find major changes to feel more like a subtractive process than an additive one, so the closer I get to having the world around me exactly how I want it, the less often I find it appropriate to make high-risk/high-reward modifications.


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General LHP Discussion / Re: over reliance on magic
« on: June 29, 2020, 06:20:35 pm »
Where I personally draw that line is between initiating vs maintaining changes. Kinda like with drugs, really -- chemically enhanced insight is great, but then you gotta take it back to improve your everyday life.

"initiating a change" can mean anything from figuring out how to make a big decision to a single attempt to overwrite a bad habit from the brain, but the stuff I'm fine with using magic for are fundamentally one-offs. They're instances where I force an improbable thing to happen once, and get into the timeline where that improbable thing has already happened, and causality takes it from there.

What I'm wary of using magic for are ongoing things that couldn't happen without it. Overriding causality every single day, in order to make something continue happening, is not sustainable. If I leave reality set up such that the things I want stay improbable after I've used "magic", then I've used it wrong.

For instance, money is a popular topic on this forum.

A magical working for money that I'd consider a good idea by my standards would be around qualifying for a higher-paid job, whether that's by rewriring my brain to take more enjoyment of getting work done, or by pushing out a single huge batch of applications, or by setting up some background system of recognizing obscure patterns to make me aware of when it's a particularly opportune time for a change. Basically a working that puts reality into a state with a near-100% chance that I'll get a big paycheck every payday.

By contrast, a working for money that I'd consider a bad idea by my standards would be trying to get a surprise windfall every week to make rent while not even working. Sure, it might work the first time or three, but the inertia of causality doesn't want it to continue to work. And the more you *rely* on magic working, the worse entangled you get into the trap that some call Lust For Result, and the harder it gets to not meddle in ways that make it work worse.

Basically, if you choose to view things through the lens of Probability, the sustainable workings are the ones that make the goal state likely or inevitable. The ineffective workings which just waste energy and effort are those which don't change the likelihood of the world staying the way you want it.

Also, because we're here, I must point out that a mindset from which it seems like doing devotional acts toward a power outside yourself will make everything better gets extremely close to what we tend to call RHP around here. I know delegation is important and all, but be careful not to give up the kind of control that you need and that's hard to get back.

3
There's a certain commonality between "evils" and "self-cares". Take for instance reneging on a promise due to a change in personal circumstances which makes the promise more difficult than anticipated to fulfill.

...

The sociocultural virus that some name Colonialism does play itself out in curious ways. It builds castes, and when a member of a lower caste forces its pain upon a member of a higher one, it is condemned for childishness. Yet if a member of a higher caste voluntarily takes on the same pain of a lower caste individual, it is praised wildly for virtue and selflesness. It's true that one group doesn't know the real experience of the other, but often overlooked how this divide cuts both ways. Because the higher castes built by this pathology have had it so long, grown so symbiotic with it, that if it was removed they would have nothing left. The lower castes -- those more newly added to the system -- are within reach of an identity from before, an identity outside of it. It is possible for someone of a group more newly added to Colonialism to reject it... but those of groups which have carried it like that fungus in the wasps so long that everything before is truly erased, might collapse like the empty bug-shell that's left if you pull out its mushroom occupant. I suspect this may relate to the over-representation in LHP of individuals from the groups longest-ridden by the Colonialism meme: LHP was built out of what scraps could be found from what they had before, or grafted in from neighboring cultures. And this might explain that desperation within it, long puzzling to me, to pretend that traditions date back far longer than they do: The newly colonialized hate its shit and turn back to what they distantly remember being better. The oldly colonialized, sick with whatever was had by wherever Rome caught and spread it from, have no such straightforward path out. Can one blame some for seeking to break or build such a way out when it seems available by no other means?

Colonialism is not a perfect name for the phenomenon, but it comes close. It's the "acting white", the culture rather than the color, of which one identical twin could very well accuse another if they deviate from their shared values into its preferred paradigm. It's the social systems which build onto mere biology to create "The Patriarchy" against which some reasonably, and others unreasonably, complain.

Seeing it is like spotting a particular plant in a caucophony of foliage: at first you look at it and it's just a sea of green. But then someone picks out a single leaf or a single blossom, and points out its defining traits and its differences from nearby lookalikes, and the faculties of pattern matching grab the "nature" of the thing and suddenly you're spotting it everywhere, even catching it by its coloration or gestalt from a great distance or when passing it by at great speed. In one way that particular plant has been there all along and the only thing that changed is the viewer's perception; in another and comparably relevant way the plant was effectively absent, unfindable, unusable, until one calibrates one's capacity to pick it out.

4
this wasn't even planned... I wonder how hard it would be to arrange to get paid half a cent less per pay period


5
Back on the concept of the societal utility of sin:

Onboarded at a new job recently, which means another batch of mandatory "ethics and code of conduct" training. It's fascinating how their heuristic for whether conduct is "wrong" includes "would it embarrass the company if it was found out publicly?". Seems a very pragmatic use of Pride as a universal constant.

6
Satanism / Re: anarcho satanism
« on: June 01, 2020, 11:45:05 pm »
why bother with stage one and waste your time and just stay where you already were.

I personally don't bother. The people who do bother seem to do so because they believe it can work, and then by trying to make it work, they learn things about the world that they didn't know previously. By learning new things and improving their ability to predict and influence outcomes, they are more like LHPers than those who never even try.

7
Satanism / Re: anarcho satanism
« on: May 31, 2020, 05:11:12 pm »
Actually, that set me down a web hole of reading up on how "anarchist communities" actually govern themselves (because they do), which allows me to summarize:

The closest stable state to anarchy is governance through group consensus.

But government by consensus is still government.

To be ruled by oneself is still to be ruled.

This strongly suggests to me that absolute anarchy on all levels may be incompatible with personal development as a Satanist.

However, many stable states adjacent to anarchy can be just fine for it.

8
Satanism / Re: anarcho satanism
« on: May 31, 2020, 05:01:50 pm »
As I understand it, anarchy would still have communities ruled by councils and such. Rights would usually be protected by the end of your own gun.
One way it was recently explained to me, as I understood them, (by a LHP practitioner) was that before colonization, a lot of Native American tribes were essentially an analog to anarchy. I don't know a terrible amount about how various tribes and nations ran their societies but they existed for at least centuries and there were about 50-100 million Native American peoples in 1500, compared to Europe's population at the time of 90.7 million, living in monarchies and such.

Anarchy as strictly defined (such as by the sources cited in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anarchy), is literally just the absence of all rule. "an", meaning "without" (anaerobic, anhydrous, whatever), and "archy", meaning "rule/governance" (monarchy, oligarchy, whatever). When you start having "councils and such", with the ability to make and enforce rules, it's no longer pure "anarchy", but instead is some other form of government... and it perpetuates age-old antipatterns to pretend that cultures with systems of governance unlike those we're accustomed to lack governance at all. If you have a spare 15mins, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4gU2Tsv6hY is a very approachable introduction to how just one of these native american government structures worked.


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I'm still trying to wrap my head around anarchy, but on some base level I think it might but I still am not exactly sure what if any ties Satanism should have to a concept of a state.

Individual Satanists benefit greatly from the conveniences of state, and are hampered by its inconveniences. It's also important to avoid overlooking the political place of Satanism as percieved Anti-Christianity, which gives its public facades great power to thwart efforts to sneakily replace non-religious governments with extremist religious ones, as such efforts often try to pretend that all religious teachings are equally important, yet reveal such claims as lies when you try to get them to further Satanist teachings. Satanism as a sociopolitical meme and Satanism as an individual path may have little but their name in common, but that shared name is enough to give each a little influence over the other.

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I mean, hell, people lived in anarchist societies for most of human existence, it wasn't until after farming was invented that anything resembling government even formed.

Where do you get that impression from? I hold the impression that even flocks and packs of animals are not truly anarchic, because some creatures in them wield power over others. The prehistory I'm acquainted with strongly suggests that our pre-farming ancestors and their ancestors benefitted greatly from sticking together in such groups. If we can agree that neither a pack of animals nor a tribe of early humans is a purely anarchic structure, then it barely matters where we might draw the line between "animal" and "human", between 'pack' and 'tribe', if the entire spectrum from one to the other is not free of governance and interpersonal control. Similarly, the relationship between any animal which raises its young and those offspring is not purely anarchic either -- so even in a hypothetical society where adults relate to one another without any bonds of rulership, parents must either rule their offspring to some extent or lose the benefits of teaching those offspring what they've learned about survival.

Now, none of that is to say that we would or would not be better off in a society more like anarchy than our current one. It's just pointing out that "anarchy" itself is more of an ideal than something that can ever be instantiated, like how it's functionally impossible to create a *perfectly* empty vacuum or a *perfectly* straight line. But the illusion that anarchy is some stable state which a society can attain and remain in without additional work is dangerous. Power and governance structures seem to try to emerge organically from interactions in systems with resource constraints, like mold emerging on food left out overnight... ignoring that tendency and pretending things will be okay causes as much of a loss of control over governance as it would with yesterday's entree.

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That (i.e. the first part of your post) is basically the main reason why I'd like to live in an apartment of my own (i.e. not a shared apartment) next time I move - in my current apartment I only have one room completely to myself, even if quite a big one, which means the place where I sleep, where I work, where I exercise, where I study, where I do rituals,... is not really physically separate and often exactly the same spot.
Having separate rooms for separate purposes makes it easier to also shift the mindset accordingly and also to manipulate one's surroundings - which tools, books, art one places in which room - which again helps the mind by reducing distractions.

A year in a shared dormitory, and then several in various rooms of shared houses, got me started on appreciating the impact of sight lines and started building my fondness for good curtains. In my favorite setup, my bed was against the wall at the far end of the room, with a tall wardrobe next to the foot and a tall bookcase next to the head (shelves facing so that they were easily accessible from the bed, and one doubled as a nightstand). I placed a shower curtain rod between the wardrobe and bookcase, and hung a really nice burgundy brocade curtain across it which I had picked up secondhand somewhere originally intending to make some garment out of it. Then the center of the room was open for whatever I might need an open, non-bed, non-work space for... and at the other end of the room I had my desk against the wall with a view out the window, and a second tall bookcase backed against the desk with a poster hung over the desk side, such that the only things I could see when sitting at it were the outdoors and the art. I find that curtains and bookcases work just as well as doors and walls to make my brain think it's in a separate "room", though of course other brains may function differently.

A trick which works for some, though I've had less success with it due to the natures of my various hobbies, is to have a space as a blank canvas and basically keep little kits to rapidly redecorate it and change its nature. I think this is what people are on about when they make altars that are easy to pack up and move around, and when they get out a yoga mat and workout clothing to exercise at home despite the fact that all the actions could be performed the same way in their pajamas on the rug.

But on the whole, simply advancing one's power and influence until it is no inconvenience to own one's space is a preferable long-term solution.

10
Had occasion, today, to observe the way that physical walls make walls within the brain. This morning, my house contained 2 closets: One held my clothes, and the other held bins of various completed material projects and ingredients for future ones.The closets backed onto the same wall, which today I confirmed was not load bearing, and removed. I walled over one of the former doorways in the newly contiguous space, arranged the entire former contents of both spaces along the ends, placed some curtains, and now have a comfortable little "storage space" or "meditation nook" in what started out as the middles of the two closets.

But the part of the experience I find worth noting here is the flips I watched my spatial reasoning turn when I first sledgehammered both sides of the drywall, and looked from the office out at the daylight through the bedroom window. If I was the type to explain things with energies, I'd describe the office-energy flowing into and mingling with the bedroom-energy in whatever the energetic equivalent is of an exothermic reaction. But I prefer the metaphor of pattern-matching, so I'd say instead that I watched my mind have many of its preconceptions and expectations about what it means for a space to be a bedroom or for a space to be a office get turned upon their heads. Watching my more automatic functions' response to something as simple as a change in lines of sight feels likely to make me pay far more attention to carefully curating what's in view from where -- I was already vaguely aware of the effects, but no more does that awareness reduce the novelty of observing the effects in practice than does having been previously aware that stingrays exist in the ocean reduce the novelty of the first time you get to handle one.

And after getting that project into an acceptable stable state (it has room for improvements, such as patching over the currently-visible drywall seam which the decorative wall previously covered, but none are urgent by my standards), I also had the opportunity to argue philosophy with a friend who seems to take morality as axiomatic. It's a terribly entertaining clash of perspectives, what with how I view morality as an emergent pattern in my hierarchy of personal preferences... I find it descriptive; he finds it prescriptive. I often have to request clarification of the terms he chooses several times, and by the time I finally understand what he was trying to communicate, he's spotted the internal inconsistencies revealed by pinning things down too tightly. My reaction to such inconsistencies is to shrug and blame the fundamental irreconcilability of language and continue on, but for someone who assumes that there is some objective Truth (and buys into the illusion that not only does such Truth exist but it can be captured and even communicated by existing languages) they're apparently more problematic.


11
Imagine willpower as a finite resource for a particular point in one's development. One can spend some proportion of that reserve to increase the reserve size in the future, just like buying an upgrade for a character in a video game. I think one's will can be directed in any combination of a variety of possible directions, some of which yield visible results and others invisible. For instance, the act of refraining from some detrimental habit costs will without yielding any particular immediate return. Its returns are real and massive (for instance, extended lifespan), but due to their magnitude, those results are often very far away. Conversely, the act of undertaking some rewarded habit costs some willpower but most or all of that expense is almost immediately offset by the boost of the habit's reward. So it really does balance like a game strategy: expend time in the right ratio between the actions of immediate reward, which converts time into some currency of motivation, balance that with time spent converting the currency of motivation into the desired results.

But that's not Will I'm modeling; what does the desiring? Perhaps what "desires" is actually a computation within the domain of what I inelegantly glossed as "results". It feels like a mechanic blending traits of a Related Rates Problem sim game and an idle clicker that plays well with exponential growth. Perhaps this is what it feels like when a good mathematician looks for new hypotheses about numbers.... I am so frustrated by something I just noticed that I lost that train of thought. The nuisance: I have never learned to be a mathematician. I have only done the things with numbers that computers can also do. I was trained and drilled and tested on those tasks to no end, but I was never more than a sophisticated natural language and visual interface to a calculator, whether real or emulated. when a good programmer imagines a truly novel piece of code they're going to bring into creation from more distant non-existance than most common artistic pursuits scratch the surface of... oh right, the void, we call it. Staring into the void is the only place you're gonna see something that exists nowhere in reality, because the Void is by definition everything but reality.

Anyways, looking for Willpower: Consider that math is what keeps us apart from the wild. Logic is only necessary to create second-order facts -- first-order facts are observations, and observation ought to supersede higher-order inferences about a phenomenon in most cases. The reasoning mind deals necessarily in such inferences, so no wonder it paints itself in conflict with the mind that observes the emotions. Emotions are first-order, direct stimuli about the state of the world, so when reason is contradicted by emotion it's the same slap of tautologically undesirable negative feedback as when a theory about the world "this stone shall fall upwards when I release it" is contradicted by the slap of a sizeable rock falling into one's toe. Positive emotion is positive feedback into whatever system generated it, which is why so many chemicals can put addiction here. But if addiction is a chemical's entry into the core of the personal system, it's not really so wrong to claim "I am drugs"....


The way I got way out into that realm of thought, distant from the areas of what consistently makes sense to many different people, was finding an old page of writing in which my past self was attempting to figure out what its life goals were.

(oh, that's why I choose 'it' over 'they' for reflexive pronouns: "my self" is not "me", any more than "my computer" or "my hat" is "me" (and yet in a way they all are part of "me"...) -- they are `it`. Nobody goes around checking the undercarriage of an item like that to see if it's a "he" or a "she", any more than I find it reasonable to prod around and look for the bits of a "self" that exists in dimensions with nowhere to put bits at all. Sure, all selves with bodies are associated with bits by a sort of transitive property, a relation across a database... but the object with a reference to another in one field is not forced into the type of that to which it refers. )

12
Satanism / Re: anarcho satanism
« on: May 26, 2020, 02:50:47 am »
@idgo What do you mean by "Satanism proper" and "passing through the Satanist paradigm"?

If you asked the person "are you a Satanist?", those I describe as being in "Satanism proper" would say "yes" or "yes, specifically an xyz sort of Satanist". Those I describe as passing through it would have an answer along the lines of "yes and <some system other than Satanism>" or  "well, I learn from it, but that's not the best label for my beliefs".

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I usually use the term Satanism as "LHP with a certain focus on Satan" or just "LHP", so transcending that would mean transcending a path that's meta in and of itself or transcending the limit from a focus on specific mythologies to starting to utilize a broader set of mythologies in one's spirituality. But you seem to be referring to something else. I guess your 2nd category of satanists are people that I would describe as newbies to satanism who haven't understood its essence yet (as much as a no-true-scotsman-definition that is), but I encounter such people surprisingly rarely and they are usually the one's who end up "leaving satanism behind" in a direction that I wouldn't describe as transcending.

Ah, by that description, an experienced LHP generalist is likely to fall into my second, "cherry-picks from Satanism" category. The context of this post being on the Satanism board rather than the "general LHP discussion" one caused me to try to differentiate between those who specialize in or focus on Satanism versus those for whom it's one of many sources of ideas. To give a more concrete definition, I wouldn't be too inaccurate to summarize "Satanism proper" as "affiliation with a Satanic religious organization, to the exclusion of beliefs which contradict its teachings". Like, if we were talking about Christian religions, my "Religion proper" category would include Protestants and Catholics, and my "passing through the paradigm" category would include Unitarian Universalists and converted Buddhists who still keep crosses and bibles around.

13
Satanism / Re: anarcho satanism
« on: May 25, 2020, 05:36:49 am »
I'd hoped that this thread would gain more traction among proper Satanists, but things move slowly here these days...

I suspect it may be worth differentiating between 2 categories of formal Satanists: Those for whom the belief system is a means, and those for whom it's an end. I hold the impression that many people with dynamic understandings of the world pass through the Satanist paradigm at some point in their personal development, but the very amenability to change which brings them there so easily also tends to carry them out of it, taking along the pieces which worked for them and leaving behind those which do not. And then there are those who "stop" at Satanism: perhaps it takes a massive shock to derail their beliefs at all and they only have it in them to change religion when an old one becomes absolutely intolerable; perhaps their aspirations are scoped such that formal Satanism brings them everything they sought and they lose all initiative to seek elsewhere; perhaps only they comprehend the esoteric depths of the most powerful religion and thus think that all who leave are missing the point.

As a member of the former group, I have a certain temptation to describe it as more "true to the spirit of what Satanism should be" or similar bullshit, but having both "entered" and "exited" Satanism proper, I cannot speak impartially on the matter.

I differentiate, though, because I suspect that people for whom Satanism is more of a means may also be highly likely to cherry-pick ideas from Anarchism through a similar process of exploration. Just as they aren't necessarily pure Satanists, they're unlikely to appear as pure Anarchists, either. By contrast, those for whom Satanism is shaped more like the end than the means seem to have a high probability of being ideologically incompatible with pure Anarchism, because the traits for taking satisfaction from any formal Church and for enjoying structured/orderly society go hand in hand.

I also suspect that many on this path dabble in Anarchism relatively early in their journey, as much of its appeal centers around escape from a temporarily intolerable place in society. (A similar motive for escape into Satanism from an oppressive Church, perhaps?) As one gains power within non-Anarchy systems, 2 personal changes seem to happen:

First, one learns more ways to fulfill the needs which it once seemed like only Anarchy could. Perhaps one alters one's goals and desires as well; this likely varies. I personally once imagined Anarchy as a system to increase my control over the world around me, but over the years I've gotten every benefit I hoped Anarchy might bring from within the systems that I once thought would have to be overthrown. And there are some benefits which I enjoy, such as ease of exchanging cash instead of time for goods of a predictable standard of quality, which would vanish if we switched to a purely Anarchic system.

And second, the more experience with humans and their freedoms one gathers, the more accurately one can mentally simulate what would happen if everyone was given absolute freedom at all times. In my opinion, believing that Anarchy would "just work" requires a staggering reserve of naive optimism, which most intelligent people run out of relatively rapidly when exposed to society.

I know plenty of Anarchists, but the interesting thing about the bright ones is that their labels get all hyphenated as they think about what they actually want to see in the world. Pure Anarchy, per se, is a sort of vacuum, which human interaction renders desperate to fill itself with some form of structure. When Anarchists face that vacuum which hates staying open on its own, even they imagine building structures to try to hold it open. For instance you get the Crypto-Anarchists, who think a blockchain can forcibly hold the structural void of Anarchy in shape rather than letting it collapse to pressures off the ledger... you get the Anarcho-Capitalists, who think a perfect free market can drag the edges of the Anarchy hole open like some postmodern goatse... Because fundamentally, the pure-Freedom system of an Anarchy is no more stable than its polar opposite, the pure-Structure system of a dictatorship. Entropy pulls for a balance between those extremes, and the further from that muddy gray middle you get, the harder you generally have to pull to move the balance more toward its nearest extreme.

And perhaps an argument could be made that those drawn to Satanism tend to gain fulfillment from a category of internal experiences and changes which make it redundant to waste too much time and energy attempting to change conditions for others, unrelated to one's own, simply for the sake of knowing that society's balance has been tipped into a particular ideology. Satanists certainly can and do participate in political movements, but I suspect that an effective Satanist does so because they know what outcome they personally wish to derive from that involvement, and conclude that politics is the most effective route to their goal, rather than because of whatever vague (naively optimistic) ideology drives the un-hyphenated Anarchists to think that the world could ever stay how they want to shape it, if they think about "afterwards" at all.


---

Edit: I reread that a couple times to investigate whether it made sense, and I ought to summarize/clarify: Anarchy looks like an improvement over society when one is "below" society, being trodden upon and disadvantaged by it. The options when one is so disadvantaged are to do one of: Change oneself, change society, change nothing. I think Satanism is generally in the category of attempting to change oneself, to change where one is positioned relative to society. Anarchism is generally an attempt to fix such problems by changing all of society. If the relationship between self and society changes such that one is "on top" of it, benefiting as much as or more than one's fair share, Anarchism would make things worse for oneself and thus seems undesirable to pursue. I suspect it may be impossible for a "perfect Satanist" -- someone who attains and skillfully wields all the power and influence that an aspiring Satanist seeks -- to remain for very long in a position from which Anarchy looks like an improvement. Then again, this line of reasoning cannot be carried very far before it grows to share a similar shape to victim-blaming, so its presentation is badly flawed.

14
Lounge / Re: What are you doing right now?
« on: May 25, 2020, 05:07:49 am »
Well masks mainly catch stuff in your own breath and stop it from getting into the general air, they are less effective in stopping you from breathing in whatever someone not wearing a mask exhaled. Or so I read.

That is a correct description of cloth masks. n95 and up make a nontrivial impact on what you're inhaling as well. Since restrictions started lifting in my area, I've been choosing n95 whenever I go somewhere that unmasked people will be, and cloth around individuals whom I know to be uninfected but whom I would not wish to infect in the unlikely event that I might be infected but asymptomatic. n95s with proper sterile procedure, and even mask reuse, are the current PPE guidelines for medical personnel in my area dealing with infected patients, so I consider them adequate as a civilian.

I had a variety of n95s on hand to choose from, apparently due to my hobbies of predicting possible futures and tinkering with probabilities of desirable outcomes. But causality is of course a slippery thing to talk about in the realms of good and bad fortune.

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Lounge / Re: What are you doing right now?
« on: May 23, 2020, 03:10:02 pm »
What are your views on masks?

Fashion-wise, I consider masks one of the only really novel revolutions that's happened so far in my lifetime. Honestly an n95 is pretty fucking metal, like:  "no, I shall not breathe in whatever you breathed out, you may try to contaminate me with your filth but I forbid it". So, I'm rather enjoying it. The sudden mainstreaming of masks, and our proximity to the post-apocalyptic/wasteland cultural aesthetic, have made it worth my while to put a bit more effort than before into my appearance on the rare occasion that I go out.

Additionally, the prevalence of masks forces me to give away less information about myself to strangers -- I have a little more control who knows how much about who I am, and I think that's a step in the right direction. Then again I consider the anonymity of communication through text online as a gold standard in these matters, so my evaluation of "better" reflects change in a direction that not all would necessarily prefer.

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