Trying out speech input

I wrote my previous blog article lying in bed at night very tired, trying out speech recognition input. I was using the one provided by Sogou. It turned out that even after many manual corrections, there were still several errors made which I didn’t catch. You can check the complexity and level of ambiguity of the writing itself (of course you’ll have to read Chinese). You also don’t know how clearly I spoke. Yes, it can be a problem when you speak quickly without a certain level of enunciation, especially when your combination of words isn’t all that frequent. There are of course also exceptional cases which a smart human would easily recognize that the machine cannot, like when I say Sogou, a human with the contextual knowledge would not see it as “so go.” Of course, this is expected, AI is only as good as your training data.

I tried Google’s speech recognition too, here, and initially it seemed to work much better, until it started to make errors too. Next, I tried IFlyTek, this company in Hefei which supposedly hires a ton of USTC (中科大) grads. Still not much better. It’s much easier to type Chinese and have to select something other than the default very occasionally. Turns out that the statistical NLP techniques for Chinese input work well enough, especially given the corpus that Sogou, whose input method I use, has accumulated over time. I had read that back a while ago, it even criticized Google for using some of their data for their Pinyin input method, and Google actually conceded that it did. It’s expected that the Chinese companies in China would have easier access to such data. Even so, Google Translate still works visibly better than Baidu Translate, even for Chinese.

From an HCI perspective, it’s much easier to input English on phone than to input Chinese. Why? Because spelling (Pinyin in the case of Chinese) correction, necessarily for phone touch-screen keyboard, works much better for English than for Chinese. Sure, Sogou provides a 9 key input method as shown below (as opposed to the traditional 26 key),

SogouNineKeyScreenshot

where once one is sufficiently practiced, the key press error rate goes down significantly, but the tradeoff is more ambiguity, which means more error in inference to manually correct. In the example below, 需要(xu’yao) and 语言(yu’yan) are equivalent under the key-based equivalence relation (where equivalence classes are ABC, DEF, PQRS, etc). Unfortunately, I meant 语言(yu’yan) but the system detected as 需要(xu’yao).

SogouNineKeyInferenceError

You can kind of guess that I wanted to say that “Chinese this language is shit.” The monosyllabic-ness of the spoken Chinese language, in contrast to the polysyllabic (?) languages in the Middle East for which the alphabet was first developed, obstructed the creation of an alphabet. Because each distinct syllable in Chinese maps to so many distinct characters with different meanings, there would be much ambiguity without characters. For an extreme example of this, Chinese linguistic genius Yuen Ren Chao (赵元任) composed an actually meaningful passage with 92 characters all pronounced shi by the name of Lion-Eating Poet in the Stone Den.

I remember how in 8th grade history class, an American kid in some discussion said how our (Western) languages are so much better than their (Chinese-based) languages, and the teacher responded with: I wouldn’t say better, I would say different. Honestly, that kid has a point. Don’t get me wrong. I much appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the Chinese language. I’m the complete opposite of all those idiot ABCs who refuse to learn it. But no one can really deny that the lack of an alphabet made progress significantly harder in many ways for Chinese civilization. Not just literacy. Printing was so much harder to develop, though that is now a solved problem, thanks much to this guy. There is also that Sogou’s Chinese OCR, which I just tried, basically doesn’t work. Of course, nobody really worries about this now, unlike in the older days. In the early 20th century, there were prominent Chinese intellectuals like Qian Xuantong (钱玄同) who advocated for the abolishment of Chinese characters. Moreover, early on in the computer era, people were worried that Chinese characters would be a problem for it.

In any case, unless I am presented with something substantially better, I can only conclude that any claim, such as this one, that computers now rival humans at speech is bullshit. I was telling a guy yesterday that AI is only as a good as your training data. It cannot really learn autonomously. There will be edge cases in less restricted contexts (unlike in chess and go, where there are very precisely defined rules) such as a computer vision and speech recognition obvious to a human that would fool the computer, until the appropriate training data is added for said edge case and its associates. Analogously, there has been a near perpetual war between CAPTCHA generators and bots over the past few decades, with more sophisticated arsenals developed by both sides over time. Technical, mathematically literate people, so long as they take a little time to learn the most commonly used AI models and algorithms, all know. Of course, there will always be AI bureaucrats/salesmen conning the public/investors to get more funding and attention to their field.

Don’t get me wrong. I still find the results in AI so far very impressive. Google search uses AI algorithms to find you the most relevant content, and now deep learning is being applied to extract information directly from image context itself, vastly improving image search. I can imagine in a decade we’ll have the same for video working relatively well. To illustrate this, China now has face recognition deployed on a wide scale. This could potentially be used to search for all the videos a specific person appears in by computationally scanning through all videos in the index, and indexing corresponding between specific people and times in specific videos. Of course, much of the progress has been driven by advances in hardware (GPUs in particular) which enable 100x+ speedup in the training time. AI is mostly an engineering problem. The math behind it is not all that hard, and in fact, relatively trivial compared to much of what serious mathematicians do. Backpropagation, the idea and mathematical model behind deep learning that was conceived in the 80s or even 70s in the academic paper setting but far too computationally costly to implement at that time on real world data, is pretty straightforward and nowhere near the difficulty of many models for theoretical physics developed long ago. What’s beautiful about AI is that simple models often work sufficiently well for certain types problems so long as the training data and computational power is there.

My whole experience with the American school system

I accidentally stuffed my face last night and found myself too uncomfortable from that to do anything productive, to my great disappointment. So I verged onto non-technical topics again, and in particular, I reflected somewhat on my personal experience growing up as a Chinese immigrant kid in America, and I write this with a hope that it might be inspiring to others with a similar background.

I came in first grade not knowing a word of English, but at least I knew the alphabet. As for learning English, it didn’t help that my first grade ESL teacher was a woman parents from Taiwan who was likely born in the US, who spoke Mandarin. I remember she would tell me that my Chinese was more proper than hers, as she really only learned it in college. Well, as you can guess, because I could speak Chinese to her if needed, I didn’t even know English all that well even after a year. I remember there were kids in that class from a variety of places, from Russia to Japan to Colombia. I wasn’t very well behaved, and near the end of the year, when we were watching some Disney movie, she actually put tape on my mouth.

I had forgotten like all my written Chinese by end of third grade, including how to write my Chinese name. But that summer there, I was able to relearn some of that.

My parents didn’t really give me much pressure academically. I would expect that they were very busy themselves. So throughout grade school, much of my life consisted of playing and watching basketball and baseball, and also stuff like Pokémon, and also piano practice, which I initially disliked but grew to like as became somewhat good at it, by a low standard. My teachers could tell that I was smart, especially at math, but I was quite hyperactive and poorly behaved.

No offense, but where I was, most of the kids and parents I encountered were pretty fucking dumb and ignorant. They seemed content with a chill, mediocre life, the bliss of ignorance. The other kids could sort of tell I was smart, but I was also pretty fucking socially weird. In third, fourth, and sixth grade, the teachers invited me to this “games club,” which I later found was designated for kids identified by the teacher to be deficient in social skills.

I wasn’t in any gifted program. I was actually not even able to test into one, because my verbal IQ was apparently way too low. So I felt like I was inferior compared to kids in gifted programs, but by now, I’ve basically far surpassed basically all of them.

My junior high which was 7th to 9th grade absolutely sucked. The teachers were really fucking stupid. The math was bull shit with graphing calculators, and the history class was full of stupid political indoctrination. I got low grades in 9th grade English and history, one because I was super immature and impulsive, and another because that teacher, who was an idiot far-right (American style) scumbag, absolutely hated me. It certainly affected my self-esteem very negatively. I was problematic in a way yes, but I dare say much was because I had far more latent IQ/talent than the other students that nobody had nurtured in me.

High school was better but still pretty shitty. I was in this IB program much of which was an utter waste of time and was really at quite a joke of a level academically. I had already realized that, doing math contests and such. However, even there, because my foundation was so shitty, I did not progress anywhere as efficiently as I could have. On the other hand, most of those kids in the full IB program thought they were doing so well, because they were in it, and getting good grades, not considering that most got As. The truth is of course that most of those kids, the way they were, had no future in anything serious. Another positive thing to happen for me then was that I started reading various stuff online I found interesting, including in Chinese, on my own. The more I learned, the more I realized how much of a joke the American school system is. It is ridden with the worst type of political indoctrination and scant on actual intellectual substance.

Now, most other advanced countries have an education system where students test into high schools based on their ability. There is much more academic preparation provided at the early stages, and more popularization of serious academic contests like the AMCs. There is also a system of vocational education for those who are less academically inclined, which is great, because practical skills should not be underrated. In contrast, American schools are too concerned with the self-esteem of students to tell them that they are basically garbage, academically, and they are falling short in terms of providing alternatives to prepare them for the real world. The result of course is that their self-esteem will become eventually utterly wrecked in college and the real world where people care more about your actual ability and work and don’t really give a damn about how hard you tried. Of course, now college in America has become a joke too, and so overpriced. On that, Charles Murray is completely right that most students in college right now in America would be better served learning some practical vocational skills as opposed to studying bullshit liberal arts.

I was quite socially clueless in high school, and I was not even that aware of the discrimination against Asians in college admissions. My parents were anything but savvy about the college admissions process in America. Expectedly, high school was full of morons padding their resumes with substance-less stuff just for that. I absolutely hated that, and I cared more about actually learning some serious stuff. That includes math, physics, algorithms, Chinese, history (that was not the brainwash taught in class). Okay, I was a joke at basically all of them but far better than almost all my classmates. There were I think three kids in my year who were accepted to Yale but to me they were the stereotypical superficial well-rounded conformist well-socialized types, and one was an athlete. Another was a very superficial whitewashed Asian who even had a non-Asian surname that I later learned was changed officially when he was a kid. Now I know what he was really up to.

College was much better. It was a flagship state school, and I didn’t mix well with most of the kids there, who I again felt were mostly drones and tools, but there were certainly some really sharp ones, and a few who I had genuine chemistry with. I did of course waste some time on general ed courses. On the more positive end, I could in that environment learn more serious math and science, and also engineering. Because I majored in math and computer science though, I would say that there was very little natural science or real engineering. Moreover, I could meet people from all over the place, including graduate students who had attended elite schools for undergrad, and also talk with international students from China there. The latter partially motivated to improve my Chinese further, to the point that reading it online felt basically as natural as reading English. From that, I also learned more about Chinese culture and the Chinese education system. I felt I was finally seriously shedding away the tremendous damage the American education system had imparted on me, the more socially acceptable it became to detach from that crowd. Though it was much better than high school, I was still not terribly content with the curriculum or the people around me. I felt I was learning too little actual math and especially science, as virtually zero of the latter was required for computer science majors. The computer science majors thought they were really good because they were in this supposedly very competitive program, bound to get six figure jobs in industry, and they were fine at programming, but really, their level of IQ, on average, was quite low. They absolutely sucked at math and had no concept of how to prove anything. There were of course exceptions who mostly kept to themselves. Like this kid who wrote his own compiler for a subset of Java in Haskell early sophomore year, which he taught himself. At programming, I was pretty garbage, lacking the engineering sense at that time, but I was not bad at algorithms, given my math ability. Overall, I am rather disappointed with my college experience. Because my starting point was so low, and because many of the students were dull but studious and conforming enough (to get better grades than I did), I became easily content and cocky at times, and also frustrated. I can blame both my lack of ability and maturity and also lack of fit of the whole educational experience to a guy like me. I sort of kept some distance from most of the other students. Again, many were tools, who I had little desire to be around. Of course, they will excel in the typical tech job, but that’s another matter. In fact, they may well have life much more easy than I do.

Summer after junior year was a major turning point for me. Through a superconnector of high achieving students many if not most at elite places like MIT and Harvard, I met and began chatting online with a few people at Caltech, MIT, and the likes. I expected them to be brilliant or at least solid academically but reality was disappointing, though almost certainly, they were below average ones at those places. However, there was one guy from a top Canadian school and another from a more mediocre state school who were both freakishly smart and competent. I looked up to both of them greatly. I was inspired by a few of them to enter competitive programming, with one of them’s being an IOI medalist, and with some practice on TopCoder, I managed to lead a team the following year to place in the top 10 in ACM regionals.

Something else that happened was that I sort of discovered Marxist literature online, partially inspired by my genius Russian friend, who was also quite a misfit, very defiant of the whole American cultural and political value system. Ironically, he’s actually doing his PhD now at a place famous for American blue-bloods, and he does not express a high opinion in general of the undergrads there, many who are not actually talented but are from well-off families who know how to game the whole system. Given my heritage, Marxist literature necessarily means learning more about the whole culture and tradition created by the Chinese communists, which I found quite fascinating and inspiring. Of course, I also learned some Russian stuff. As I did, I felt ever more indignant with respect to all the historical and political lies promulgated and normalized in American society by the media, lauded as a free one, but in reality, controlled largely by what one can crudely characterize as destroyers of civilization. In the process, I fell in love with Soviet music, which is of much higher artistic quality and substance than the trash kids listen to nowadays. It even idealistically inspired me to fight for a better world. Of course, now I know how hard that is, but I am not giving up just yet.

In college, there was of course pressure to conform, to act in a socially acceptable way, to not be too strange. That means not being openly elitist and critical the way I am right now. That also means not acting in a way that is too un-American. I’m a guy who came here in first grade, not an international student from China. In some sense, it’s not right for me to not be like all those ABCs. It kind of sucks to grow up as an Asian immigrant kid in America. It sucks even more if you’re actually nerdy/smart and culturally/politically sane, like I am. You feel like there is something wrong with you, but of course, now I am confident that that is not true, and that it is in fact American society/culture that is becoming ever more fucked up. Michael O Church can attest to this.

Now, after college. I got to meet some way more interesting, smart people, learn way more interesting things. I could fully distance myself from the uninspiring people I went to school with. This includes people from all over the world, across all age groups, with much deeper and more varied expertise. That includes IMO and IOI medalists, top finishers on the Putnam contest, people in top or good grad schools, some of whom are really impressive, and some of whom are nowhere near the level that they may look on paper superficially. My cultural, historical, political, and linguistic knowledge went up quite another level. Of course, I also saw more first hand from working how the world actually works, which really only parents will tell you. On this, Michael O Church loves to say how it’s the moderately privileged kids whose parents are in mostly meritocratic places like medicine and academia who can be sheltered enough to be naive. In contrast, underprivileged kids need to be street smart just to survive, while genuinely privileged kids know how rigged the system is and how to game it. I felt so much more free because I finally found more like-minded people with whom I could talk openly without fear of how I might be perceived. I was able to in the process re-mould myself into the organic me as opposed to the me under the yoke of a specific educational system.

Finally, I shall speak specifically on growing up Asian in the American education system. Overall, it’s a pretty shitty cultural experience. They’re not really American, no matter how hard they try, yet they lose the ability to be a genuine Asian. Fortunately, I shielded myself from that largely on my own initiative. It wasn’t always easy, but in the long run, that was quite a wise choice, and I encourage more people with same background as me to do the same. Learn from the good aspects of America, not from the toxic ones. Do this with any culture, any system. Also, exposure to genuine Chinese culture can shield you from the pseudo one presented by the American media that has done so much to confuse the thinking and damage the self-esteem of people like me, but not like me.

Reflecting on my experience, I really wished that I could have gotten a much better education. American education really is pretty shitty, especially for actually smart people, if you’re not very well situated in terms of schools and parents. Of course, later on, it gets much better.

I’ll conclude by going on a tangent. That is, my *anti-Semitism* that kicked off recently. What started it? And I also ask myself: am I simply taking out bitterness with my own educational and cultural experience, and also my own failures, on another group, instead of taking responsibility for them myself? Yes and no. Anyhow, I consider it not anti-Semitic, more like realistic, and in fact, I have interacted substantially with and highly regard many from that group. It is without doubt a remarkably high achieving group, often spectacularly so. This math PhD also well-versed in physics I talk to was also saying to me recently how Jewish accomplishment in mathematics and physics is absolutely overwhelming, which is indisputable. Of course, there’s also a darker side. I think I might have been inspired by this really smart guy who is a white Gentile (later atheist) American who doesn’t actually think I’m insane, or at least I hope not. Because once he was like:

You know what you should do? Become one of those food workers where rich Jews eat. Nobody cares about those people.

I actually told this to someone else, who was like: “that’s because they run things. If you ran things, you’d be the same.” When I told that guy about that, he was like:

counterpoint: other people have run things
some corruption is expected
Even the worst of the colonialist era was tempered
a lot of people were actually trying to do good
civilize the savages, that whole thing
that’s not saying there weren’t atrocities
because there were

And I was like, wow

So you’re saying the Jews now are worse
Than whites during the whole age of white/European imperialism/colonialism.
How much do whites regret letting Jews seize the positions of power

Him:

yes
norms have become nicer
so they can’t pull the old school shit
and more importantly
you’re not going to see the megadeaths from plague

Me:

So your argument is roughly that the calibration has to be much different now relative to the colonialist era, and Jews, by the current calibration, are pretty shitty.
About as shitty as the Belgians were in the Congo eh?

Him:

the belgians self-corrected
I mean, after killing a whole bunch of people
somebody said it was pretty fucked up
and the whole thing kinda fell apart
if we didn’t live in a post-colonial culture
they’d genuinely believe
that goyim are as cattle
and that they should do whatever it takes to ensure their rule persists
also the jews don’t want to exterminate
they need goyim to rule over
a world run by whites is one where half want to conquer and half want to help
a world run by chinese or japanese is one where they’d be rich and on top but mostly leave other people alone
other than getting money from them
a world run by jews is one where they’d systematically extinguish any hope of ending it
ITT anyone smart who’s not a jew would be a threat

Me (critically):

But plenty of smart Asians/whites have had Jewish advisors who strongly supported them
Recognized and cultivated their talent

Him:

this is a world with Jews who can openly be in power
not slink about in the shadows

Me:

That’s kind of theoretically impossible because Jews are too few
See because of that, they can only engage in deception
They’re evolved for that

Him:

look at Israel
they might be “evolved for deception” as you say
but that’s not stopping them from carrying out an effective, slow-motion genocide
which alone is scary
because sure, you can have one Hitler
you can have one Stalin
but you have multiple generations of Jews who are determined to exterminate the palestinians
you can’t have that kind of value alignment with white ppl

Me:

Do it slowly so that people don’t react to it as much, until it’s too late.
It’s like starving a person to death instead of blowing his brains out.
That’s what the Jews are doing to the Palestinians, it’s obvious

Him:

you should be scared because it suggest they’d do it to you too

Me:

Yeah they just don’t have the power to
I mean isn’t cultural assimilation also a form of more benign genocide of a culture
Didn’t whites also slow kill the Native Americans?
And got away with it 100%.
There’s also the saying that abused people are more likely to become abusers.
Doesn’t that sort of apply to the Jews too?

Him:

given the choice between future people who share my genes but an alien culture and future people who share my culture but alien genes I’m 100% for the former 0% for the latter
kicked out of 109 countries?

Me:

They regard that as abuse.
Anti-Semitism.
They may even feel nobody likes us because we’re too good.

Him:

I’m sure they tell themselves something like that

“boo hoo everyone’s evil and oppressive except for us”

What can I say? A smart white who sounds way more *anti-Semitic* than I am. Should I recalibrate according to him? Are Asians simply not aggressive enough? Is that why they are picked on so much by the media in America and not allowed in upper management in corporate America? I think he may be a bit overboard, but I might be wrong on that one. Or maybe he is exaggerating. Who knows. Anyhow, I find it somewhat flattering that he says he’d rather live in a world ruled by Asians than one ruled by Jews, because: less evil. So, considering his opinion, in combination with how shitty the American education system is, outlined above, maybe the group that I am part of really should try to take a more active role in world affairs and set a new standard and example. Lately, that has already been happening, very noticeably, and only time will tell how it pans out. Maybe I can be part of it too, who knows?

Русская практика

I wrote the following over a month ago. I was quite pleased, because it was the first time I actually spoke Russian to the point of being able to carry on a passable conversation. Of course, English words were interspersed here and there, but it wasn’t too bad. I was excited enough afterwards that I wrote this piece, which almost certainly has some errors, which I expect to pick out over time. Not to toot my own horn too much, but this is not a bad result after a little over a year of reading and Facebook pinging in it off and on, when I feel too lazy to do anything more productive. Russian learning wise, it was also awesome to meet online this guy, an undergraduate at MIT in physics Индийского присхождения, a child prodigy who taught himself Russian in high school, who also spent a summer in St. Petersburg if I remember correctly. He is obviously much better at it than I am, but I expect to catch up soon. It will only become easier and easier over time. Maybe I can even write some music with lyrics in it, eventually, who knows.

Сегодня я обедал с моем очень талантливым русском другом кто который занимается математикой PhD. Я был счастлив потому это первый раз что я говорю по русски лицом к лицу. Прежде чем, я читал русский часто онлайн который легкий и иногда я бы послал по-русски на Facebook. Конечно ещё много слова что я не знаю по русски что я хотел сказать для которого я использовал английский. Как китайский спикер я знаю Chinglish который я говорил но я не ожидал что теперь я бы также говорил Руссlish хаха. Я скажу моему другу кто читает это блог что может быть что я буду писать на этом по-русски также. И теперь я делаю это!

Позже на автобусе я видел двух милых маленьких девушек, разговаривающих по-русски, поэтому для большей практики, я спросил: “Это русский язык?“, и они ответил да, подтверждая мою гипотезу на что язык они говорили. Они сказали мне что они студенты в колледже кто приехали из Украины год назад. Из Украины, мне напомнили, что там произошло в 2014, и также эта милая прокурора Наталья Поклонская в Крыму. Они сказали что им не нравятся что произошло в Крыму, как СМИ в США. Да этого, они также сказали мне что они из Харьков, который в восточном части Украйны, не Киев, где произошел переворот. Тогда я спросил если они русские о украинские, и они сказали украинские, который несколько объясняет их политический положение. Но тогда если они украинские, почему они говорят по-русски и не по-украински? Они не сказали ничего, кроме того, что украинцы говорят обоим, и тогда я заметил что эти два очень схожи.

В заключение, надеюсь, что я смогу написать больше русских на этом блоге. О математике. О политике. О чём-нибудь. До свиданья товарищ.

Understanding Human History

I had the pleasure to read parts of Understanding Human History: An Analysis Including the Effects of Geography and Differential Evolution by Michael H. Hart. He has astrophysics PhD from Princeton, which implies that he is a serious intellectual, though it doesn’t seem like he was quite so brilliant that he could do good research in theoretical physics, though an unofficial source says he worked at NASA and was a physics professor at Trinity University who picked up a law degree along the way. I would estimate that intellectually, he is Steve Hsu level, perhaps a little below, though surely in the high verbal popularization aspect, he is more prolific, as evidenced by that book, among many others, such as one on the 100 most influential historical figures. He is active in white separatist causes (heh) and appears to have had ties with the infamous and now deceased Rushton.

Lately, with pardon for possible hindsight bias from reading, I have been more inclined to look at the world from a long term historical perspective. I have always had some inclination to believe that to judge an intellectual fully in terms of impact take decades and often generations, especially political ones. As a derivative to this, I feel I am, relative to most, less susceptible than most to fads and trends and care less about short term recognition and credentialism. The ideal is to let history be the judge, which it will be eventually and inevitably.

In this post, I’ll give a summary of what I would regard as some of the most prominent points in that book. Keep in mind though that I won’t strictly refer to the book and will instead draw from various sources online, with the book as more of an inspiration. To start, I recall reading as a kid that the Euphrates and Tigris rivers in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq, Syria, Turkey) are cradles of civilization. On that, Hart was somewhat elaborate on the development of agriculture that took place there at least as early 11,000 BC. This was not soon after the last glacial period which many speculate vastly enhanced the intelligence of peoples in the more northern latitudes, particularly in Northeast Asian and in Europe, through brutal elimination of those unable to survive under the harsh demands brought forth to them in the cold winters. The earliest well-accepted evidence of writing appears to be again in Mesopotamia around 3100 BC. Around the same time, independent writing systems also arose in Egypt, but with that, historians and archaeologists cannot be sure whether it was truly independent, as the geographic proximity between Egypt and Mesopotamia was not large.

An independent civilization arose in China too, which was geographically isolated from the larger part of world. On its east (and to a less extent, south) is the Pacific Ocean, on its West are some of the world’s highest mountain ranges, and on its north are relatively barren lands. Respectively, agriculture and writing emerged in China not long after in Mesopotamia. The body of inscriptions on oracle bones from the late Shang dynasty gives the earliest evidence for what consensus would regard as genuine writing, which was around 1200 BC. There has been, though, an excavation dating back to as early as 6600 BC, of some form of proto-writing of the Peiligang culture. One ought to keep in mind that here we are talking about confirmed upper bounds in time, which will hopefully become tighter and tighter with time as more archaeological discoveries emerge and emerge. While we cannot definitely rule out that Mesopotamia influenced the development of writing in China, it is extremely unlikely that such was the case, due to the great geographic barriers.

I have had the pleasure of skimming through parts of the most classic of Chinese classics, including the I Ching, which are difficult to understand as one would expect. Those are the Chinese biblical equivalents. Unfortunately for history, the first emperor of China who unified all of China in 221 BC, preserving such unity by enforcing uniform weights and measures, ordered an infamous burning of books and scholars, which means that many priceless artifacts of Chinese civilization were forever lost, but of course, many books were able to escape his decree.

The Chinese did not develop an alphabet, as we all know. This was obviously disadvantageous in many ways, but it also enabled China to remain as one culturally, as languages with alphabets can more easily evolve. In China, there are mutually unintelligible dialects (such as Mandarin and Cantonese, which are still very similar in their oral form), but they all employ the same writing system unalterable. One can observe that the legacy of this persists deeply today with China unified and Europe very fragmented culturally and politically with the EU somewhat of a farce as a political organization according to many.

Hart shies away not from emphasizing the deep and revolutionary contributions to human civilization of the ancient Greeks totally merited. By far the most prominent and eternal of these was the development of the rigorous scientific method in its deductive form. The magnum opus of this is Euclid’s Elements, which was a compilation of propositions rigorously proven by his predecessor Greek mathematicians such as Thales and Pythagoras, who were pioneers of this great intellectual tradition that Western civilization and to a lesser extent Islamic civilization later on created and successfully preserved. Additionally, most certainly influenced by the Pythagorean mathematical tradition, the Greeks achieved substantially in geodesy and astronomy, with Erathosthenes calculating with an error of 2% to 15% the circumference of the earth using the differing angles the shadows from the sun made as the basis of his trigonometric calculations. From this, one can infer that by then, the Greeks already had well-established the sphericity of the earth. We even have evidence from The Sand Reckoner of Archimedes that Aristarchus of Samos (c. 270 BC) had proposed a heliocentric model in a work Archimedes had access to but has now been unfortunately lost. The English translation of that is as follows:

You are now aware [‘you’ being King Gelon] that the “universe” is the name given by most astronomers to the sphere the centre of which is the centre of the earth, while its radius is equal to the straight line between the centre of the sun and the centre of the earth. This is the common account (τά γραφόμενα) as you have heard from astronomers. But Aristarchus has brought out a book consisting of certain hypotheses, wherein it appears, as a consequence of the assumptions made, that the universe is many times greater than the “universe” just mentioned. His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the sun remain unmoved, that the earth revolves about the sun on the circumference of a circle, the sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of the fixed stars, situated about the same centre as the sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the centre of the sphere bears to its surface.

The Greek were too rich and too farsighted in their scientific thinking and achievements, and I shall give no more concrete examples here for the sake of time.

This is in stark contrast to the Chinese civilization that Hart claims is the only one that can overall rival Western European civilization. Whatever scientific schools of thought, such as that of Mo Tzu, that existed were not well-preserved and eventually lost prominence to Confucianism, which did not emphasize rigorous scientific thinking, instead with an overemphasis on social relations of a more conformist nature that came with it an imperial examination system focused on literary topics for selecting people to govern the country. The ancient Chinese did not display much curiosity in the logical and natural world. Hart notes how even in 1600 AD, the Chinese knew far less than the Greeks in mathematics, and there is still as far as I am aware not of any evidence of widespread recognition of the round earth among Chinese scholars.

There is reason for a geographic explanation to this. Hart brings up the advantageous geographic position of Greece for its development of civilization. It was, on the Mediterranean, a maritime culture. It was, being further east than Italy, and thus in much closer cultural contact with the Mesopotamians, the cradle of civilization on the larger, non-Chinese part of the world. Additionally, it was close with Egypt. On the other hand, Chinese civilization was basically all to itself, contributing very crudely to somewhat of a less adventurous spirit, less curiosity about the outside world, and by extension, less curiosity about the natural world. Of course, what appears to be the lack of emphasis on theoretical matters of the ancient Chinese also has deep and far from well understood, owing to lack of complete picture due to loss of artifacts, roots. The location of the Greeks is not alone though. Hart also believes that the Greeks, being in a colder climate, had a higher IQ (or biological intelligence), which was what enabled them to surpass both the Mesopotamians and the Egyptians.

The Chinese brought to the world two major inventions that radically altered the course of history, which were uniquely and definitely Chinese. They were paper making and gunpowder. The papermaking process was invented by court eunuch Cai Lun in 105 AD. It was the first inexpensive medium for writing, as opposed to papyrus and bamboo, that enabled for China a great leap forward culturally. In 751 AD, some Chinese paper makers were captured by Arabs after Tang troops were defeated in the Battle of Talas River, and from that, the techniques of papermaking then spread to the West gradually, reading Europe in the 12th century. This is so impactful and impressive, because Western civilization was not able to uncover this critical process for over a millennia when they finally learned of it from outsiders. For this very reason, Hart put Cai Lun as number 7, right ahead of Gutenberg, inventor of the printing press in the 15th century in German. To justify that, he claims that Gutenberg would not have invented the printing press if not for paper, and that this invention being purely one of Chinese civilization that was transmitted to the West over a millennia later in addition to its history altering impact was not one that was inevitable in the sense of being a product of the historical epoch in which it came about. The Chinese also invented printing, with woodblock printing in the 8th century Tang dynasty and movable type (one for each character) by Bi Sheng in the 11th century. However, because of the thousands of Chinese characters as opposed to the tens of letters of the alphabet, movable type did not have anywhere as near of an impact. There is little if any evidence that Gutenberg was influenced in his invention by the one from China.

The importance and again pure Chineseness in invention of gunpowder is also without question. It revolutionized combat and was what enabled Europeans, with their improved guns, to later conquer the New World. Gunpowder was invented by Chinese alchemists in the 9th century likely by accident in their search for an elixir of life. The first military applications of gunpowder were developed around 1000 CE, and in the following centuries various gunpowder weapons such as bombs, fire lances, and the gun appeared in China. Gunpowder was likely transmitted to the Western world gradually via the Mongol invasions, which extended as far as Hungary.

The final of the so called Four Great Inventions of China not yet mentioned is the compass, which facilitated the voyages to Africa of Zheng He in the early 15th century. For that though, while very possible, there seems far from any conclusive that it spread to the Islamic World and Europe as opposed to be having been reinvented there.

Transitioning from China to the medium between China and the West, the Islamic world, we must delve into the Islamic Golden Age, traditionally dated from the 8th century to the 13th century, during which many important scientific discoveries were made. Though my knowledge of Islamic cultures is scant, I do know of Alhazen, Omar Khayyam, and Al-Khwārizmī. In particular, his seven-volume treatise on optics Kitab al-Manazir, while perhaps questionable on his theories of light, was notable for its emphasis on empirical evidence that combined inductive reasoning, which was relatively neglected by the Greeks, with the rigorous deductive reasoning that the Greeks championed to the extremes. We do know with certainty that this magnum opus was translated to Latin, greatly influencing later European scientists and thinkers as important as Leonardo Da VinciGalileo GalileiChristiaan HuygensRené Descartes, and Johannes Kepler. Moreover, Al-Khwārizmī’s work on arithmetic was responsible for introducing the Arabic numerals, based on the Hindu–Arabic numeral system developed in Indian mathematics, to the Western world. There is evidence of solid knowledge of trigonometry, with for instance the law of sines pervasive in the scientific literature from Islamic scholars of that time. With reference to Hindu, I shall note that Indian mathematics and astronomy were quite impressive, certainly more so than Chinese mathematics, which though calculating pi to 7 digits as early as the 5th century, which held a 900+ year record, among many other applied and computational achievements, was severely lacking in its theoretical foundations, was, with AryabhataBrahmaguptaBhāskara I, among others who did work close or on par with those of Islamic scholars mathematically but much earlier, between the 5th and 7th centuries. Because many foreign words are contained within their texts, we can be relatively sure that there was Greek and Mesopotamian influence. Relating to that, Hart does not see Indian or Islamic mathematics as terribly original and more as derivative of Greek works, with significance more in the nature of preservation, though with Western European civilization having been the dominant, and often entirely so, for so long, one ought to be careful of Eurocentric bias. The achievements of Indians and Arabs to math and science ought to be more thoroughly investigated and fairly acknowledgment, in particular how they may have influenced later developments in the West. On that note, I shall say that I was super impressed that in the 14th century, the school of Madhava of Sangamagrama managed to discover infinite series for trigonometric functions of sine, cosine, tangent and arctangent. As a special case of arctangent, we have that

{\frac {\pi }{4}}=1-{\frac {1}{3}}+{\frac {1}{5}}-{\frac {1}{7}}+\cdots +{\frac {(-1)^{n}}{2n+1}}+\cdots,

which was later rediscovered by Leibniz. This of course hints or indicates that Madhava already knew at that time some form of proto-calculus, with as a concrete example Rolle’s theorem, which his predecessor from the 12th century Bhāskara_II had already stated. It’s possible that knowledge of these results were transmitted to Europe, but online sources stay that no evidence for that has been found. This probably influenced Hart’s verdict that Indian/Hindu civilization, while superior to China’s in theoretical science, was far less influential, with of course, India’s having received some knowledge of the Greeks, whereas the Chinese developed independently, with Euclid’s Elements only translated to Chinese in the early 17th century, where it, unfortunately for China, did not have the impact it should have had.

We all know that the West created the modern world, with the Renaissance, the scientific revolution, and the industrial revolution, and discovering, conquering, and colonizing more and more of it with their superior ships and guns, white Europeans virtually ruled the entire world by the late 19th century, ushering in unprecedented growth revolutionary in its quality and exponential in its quantity. It has continued to the point of air travel and internet communications that has drastically reduced the distance between cultures and peoples, with racial intermixing and immigration ever more common and accepted, though of course, the majority still live and mix with their own, in their ancestral homeland.

So, despite being non-white, I shall out of my respect for reason and reality publicize my well-justified view that white supremacy is, or at least was, too manifest not to be believed in. Not too long ago, white European civilization has essentially been in a completely different league from the rest, miles ahead in its content enough to give an appearance of white man’s being a higher species than the rest, with the rest of the world more or less compelled to learn the ways of the West. Of course, being ahead in terms of accumulation of culture, knowledge, and technology does not imply biological superiority, of which IQ is the best proxy. On that, it is well established within the scientific community on the matter that East Asians have a slightly higher IQ than white Europeans, with the advantage largely being in math and visuo-spatial. This is solidly evidenced by the success of Japan and later China, and to a lesser extent South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore. The Japanese of the late 19th century were uncertain with regard to whether they could do modern science and compete with Westerners, but not long after, they came to the realization that they were not bad, with their decisive defeat of the Russians in 1905 referenced in Hart’s book. By WWII, Japan was basically an advanced country and had also produced some truly groundbreaking work in pure science at home with Takagi and Yukawa as their pioneers for mathematics and physics respectively. The Chinese students who studied in the West in some mass after China’s defeat in the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 also did quite well, though China internally was only able to modernize rapidly after the establishment of the PRC ended the instability and destruction of war at home that had plagued China for over a century, which it did very rapidly and successfully. By the 1940s, there were already quite a handful of Chinese doing revolutionary or at least first-rate work in science, particularly in mathematics, exemplified by Hua Luogeng and Shing-Shen Chern. By 1970, in spite of starting from near ground zero a few decades ago, China already had thermonuclear weapons and a satellite in orbit, notwithstanding little trade with the West following the Korean War and a later break with the Soviet Union. Now, not even 50 years after that, many people in the West are quite scared of what appears to be China’s supplanting the US as the world’s number one and thereby bringing legitimacy to a civilization with cultural values and political systems very different that evolved independently of the rest of civilization, and this is in fact what the infamous race realist scholars like Rushton and Lynn have predicted would happen largely on the basis of the higher IQ of East Asians that they to some extent popularized. Of course, this is far from absolute, with for example that the Jews (who are basically white, Western) have measured an IQ higher than East Asians of a greater magnitude than the difference between East Asians and (non-Jewish) whites. Hart, being Jewish himself, shies away not either from citing the plethora of world-changing Jewish contributions to science and culture in Europe, the United States, and Russia/Soviet Union from the 19th century on. We can see that the two superpowers, the US and the USSR both depended tremendously on the Jews for solving their hardest technical problems. For instance, the nuclear weapons programs of both countries, especially in theory, were filled with Jews, with Hans Bethe, Edward Teller, Yakov Zel’dovich, and Vitaly Ginzburg as examples. It is even fair to say that to some extent the 20th century was the Jewish century.

For the 21st century, Hart also predicts that the breakthroughs will be achieved mostly by white Europeans (that includes Jews) and East Asians, and we already see that happening. I do not recall his stating that the East Asian civilization represented mostly by China and Japan have been on rapid rise lately, and I shall surely point that out, out of what I regard as both its reality and significance (as opposed to any ethnic chauvinism on my part). It is the formerly weak but now strong and still rapidly strengthening other side of human civilization that is less fairly acknowledged, though with its rise, that will gradually change, just as the rise and later sheer dominance of the West enabled it to easily impose its standards and culture on others regardless. With mathematics again as the representative for the pinnacle of human civilization, we can see how very recently Yitang Zhang stunned the world by proving infinite bounded gaps between primes and Shinichi Mochizuki is receiving ever more press for the inter-universal Teichmüller theory that claims to solve the abc-conjecture, one of the most important problems in number theory, the queen of mathematics (according to Gauss), that could possibly becoming one of the most important new mathematical theories of the 21st century. On that, my friend once remarked: “Mochizuki could be the 21st century Grothendieck!” It is quite remarkable and also surprising that the culture and civilization for which theoretical science had been a glaring weakness historically is now verging on its apex, though the surprising part is less so when one takes IQ into account, with now the cultural factors more controlled for owing to the near universal access to information provided by the Internet. Additionally, China is excelling at and amazing, with some effect of unease, the world at what it has traditionally been strong at, namely large-scale engineering projects, but this time, of a nature guided by the modern science of the West. As examples, we see the world’s fastest trains in a nation-wide network, the world’s largest genome sequencing factory, and a great wall of sand dredged on the South China Sea. They are modern Chinese parallels of the Great Canal, the Great Wall, and the mega ships of Admiral Zheng He an order of magnitude larger than those of Columbus. Comes unity comes strength, or so the saying goes. It is one that persists in Chinese civilization today that is enabling more in China what the West cannot do, in practice.

There are scholars and advocates who lament that Western civilization, threatened by dysgenic immigration among other things, is in decline, and that its culture and civilization, which includes a certain purity of its people, ought to be preserved, which includes Hart himself. Given the overwhelming contribution of the West to human civilization, with Greek and Latin roots, has contributed to human civilization, one cannot not identify somewhat with this point of view. On this note, Rushton has even hypothesized that the Black Death precipitated the Great Divergence by suddenly and drastically enhancing the gene pool through killing off a quarter and as much as a half in some places of the European population via more or less a freak accident, one that has been regressing ever since to its natural level. It is somewhat unfortunate in some sense that the horrific legacy of Nazism, which was such that many Western peoples began to outwardly oppose ideas of racial superiority, has developed up to today towards a form of irrational racial egalitarianism and SJW culture that denies any honest, scientifically objective discourse on race differences, which are patently there, which we have the ability now to examine vastly more closely, powerfully, and scientifically than in Hitler’s time that is so politically obstructed for the aforementioned reason. Having referred to dysgenics, I shall also note that the technology and globalization we have today we are rather evolutionarily maladjusted to. Foremost of all, with reference to modern medicine, evolution does not let the weak live or spread its seed, and moreover, evolution is not terribly suited for vastly multi-ethnic societies either. The world now exhibits so much more mercy than before, often at the expense of the advancement of civilization. Yes, we know and have much more than our ancestors, but are we biologically superior to them? Perhaps we are at the far far tail, which increasingly breeds assortatively, but overall, I would say almost certainly not.

As for the 21st century, how it will pan out, only time will tell. However, if I were to bet, I would say that its winner and its legacy, viewed from the long term historical perspective, say a millennia from now, will be whoever musters the courage to control our own evolution to take us beyond the confines of Homo sapiens, so extraordinary and yet so limited in its might, and also at times also so foolish in its wisdom.

To conclude, my message to my generation and the future of humanity, inspired partly by Bertrand Russell:

Be rational! Be tolerant, but not of mindless PC! Dare to create new heights! Dare to improve the human race!

Israel, China, and more

I figured that as interested in Jews and Jewish achievement (and shenanigans) as I am, I should at least learn something real about Israel, which I know little about at the detailed factual level. That part of the world has, predictably, always felt rather remote in my life, though it is in some sense the cradle of civilization. While on the bus with nothing to do, I was just last week, trolling some of my friends on Facebook with some Hebrew I copy pasted. Like, ברוך השם (Baruch HaShem), which literally means “blessed his name.” On that I’m pleased to say that I’m now sort of paying attention to the letters of the Hebrew alphabet when I visit English Wiki pages on Jewish matters with the English transliteration of Hebrew words alongside the Hebrew original. It’s kind of cute that it, like Arabic, reads right to left, a fact I had not known.

Last night, I had the pleasure of going through the history of Israel (particularly its formation) in some degree of detail. So now I know what Haganah, Irgun, Lehi, Palmach are. Interestingly, there was tension between the IDF (headed by Ben-Gurion) and the Irgun (headed by Menachim Begin), which resulted in the Altalena Affair in which a ship containing armaments of the Irgun was ordered to be sunk by Ben-Gurion on high seas by the air force. I was rather surprised there was actually this much discord among the Zionist leaders, as stereotype is of course that Jews are super cohesive. I was also somewhat surprised that the Zionists had the nerve to assassinate Western politicians like Lord Moyne and Folke Bernadotte they did not like who were mediating truces between the Israelis and the Arabs during the 1948 war. Overall, my impression of the war was that neither side had substantial military experience or ability and the war was on a relatively small scale, being in a very small region.

I was not fully aware that American support for Israel really only became substantial following the Six Day War. Around that time, France, which had provided Israel with high end military technology before, had announced an embargo there. Israel’s nuclear weapons was provided to it largely by France as well, and some say that at the time of Six Day War, Israel already had a functional nuke to use as a last resort. Almost certainly, it did in the Yom Kippur War seven years later. Details regarding Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program were revealed to the public via Mordechai Vanunu, who had worked as a technician on classified projects at the Negev Nuclear Research Center, who was eventually caught and shamed for life by Mossad agents.

From this reading, I can better appreciate Israel’s vulnerability due to its small size, in land and in population, the latter especially, that makes it impossible to sustain itself without external aid. This will hold regardless of how advanced it becomes, so even with nuclear ICBMs, they still have much to fear. I’ve seen pro-Jewish sites characterize Israel’s military and survival as a miracle. I’ve also seen that Israel is scared shit of North Korea, which could potentially transfer its nuclear and missile technology to Iran, Syria, etc. Israel’s attitude is of course that the Arab nations cannot obtain nukes at all costs, and Israel will send Mossad agents to assassinate anyone suspected to be assisting them on that, which it has already done many times.

Readers of my blog might know that I write here about that Jew in math I talk with quite a bit, who has some interesting views for sure. As an update there, I didn’t quite expect him to say to me that “Israel surviving is not that impressive.” I would somewhat agree actually given how much support Israel has gotten from the West, which does not apply at all to North Korea, whose survival I would say is much more of a miracle. Only time will tell who will last longer, and I would think that both will remain intact for quite a while.

That guy also tells me that China is very pro-Israel, which I’m not so sure about. China only developed at first secret relations with Israel in the late 70s/early 80s. China at the time was very interested in procuring some high-end Western military tech from Israel, which it did to a significant degree in the 80s, and surely, America is not terribly happy about this. This guy responds with “China” when I ask him how Israel will fare on a weakened America, and I’m not sure how serious he is on that, since I could hardly imagine China actually going to the lengths to rescue Israel under the hypothetical scenario that it is about to be run over.

The aggressive and often overtly biased political attitudes of Jews and Israelis are understandable given how precarious their situation is. They faced life or death and though their situation is much more secure now, they still do, being too small. On this, recalled to me was this physics professor at Washington University of St. Louis whose infamous essay Don’t Become a Scientist I had read and reread, who also has on his web page a collection of political pieces against Iraq and North Korea, with provocative titles such as Anyone Who Bombs Baghdad [when Saddam was in power] Gets My Vote. I haven’t seen yet any mention of Israel and its nukes in his pieces and I sure wonder why. In another one of those, Limiting the Nuclear Club—Iraq, North Korea et al., he characterized Stalin (when it was mostly his USSR that defeated Hitler) very one-sidedly as “a man and system which murdered tens of millions of people with bullets, famine, and prison camps.” On the nuclear club, he also wrote that “fortunately, most of these countries are stable democracies and therefore not aggressors; the two chief exceptions (the Former Soviet Union and China) were successfully contained for many years, and the more powerful of these is making a transition, one hopes successful and irreversible, to democracy,” which again goes to show his blatant bias and lack of rigorous thinking (that he would exhibit in physics) when it comes to politics.

On this, I don’t see why China should be terribly friendly to Jews and Israel when Jews, with their media power and verbal gifts, have done so much to distort modern Chinese history in the West and to smear, sabotage, and peacefully evolve a political system that has worked wonders for China, very plausibly with ulterior motives. I have also seen many Jews support Taiwanese independence, including this guy I talk to. Certain American interests might want to mould the political thinking of Chinese who grow up in America like me (most of whom do not read Chinese), but honestly, I feel like I am too intelligent and politically discerning and realistic to fall for it. I value independent, impartial thinking that is reality grounded, that is cognitively empathetic of interests relations wise, which means the American exceptionalist versions of history and politics don’t work on me, and neither would any such form of exceptionalism in favor of any country or system. I don’t think Chinese who grow up in America will be terribly happy once they realize, as more of them are doing, that the American version of the history and culture of where their parents are from is fraught with glaring inaccuracies and falsehoods motivated by political bias and ill-intent, and elite Jews, who have the most prominent voice in America, can be mostly easily blamed for that. One can even go more extreme and say that the Jews are the main culprit for the shitty and grossly dishonest media in America, with their dominance of press and Hollywood in this country, which they unabashed laud as “free media.” I don’t think this facade can last forever.

Often, one, including myself, is met with the dilemma of whether or not to engage in aggressive and ethically questionable behavior that gives one an advantage, at least in the short term, that goes on record either directly or indirectly in the memories of those alienated by the action as well as oneself.  Even it brings me major gains, I know eventually I might look back and feel shame and regret on the dishonorable means I took to earn them. I like it most when I achieve something based on genuine ability and hard work, as opposed to politicking, striverish behavior, which everyone engages in to some extent. I don’t think lies or deceptive talk can be concealed forever regardless of how much power or media control one has, and in some sense, it is the truth that is the most potent. Additionally, as a Chinese, I am somewhat conscious of how my behavior in every way affects microscopically how Chinese are perceived in general. When I see so many Jews spout nonsense about history and politics, especially parts I am familiar with, it sure doesn’t give me a good view of the group in general, character wise, so as to separate from their objective achievements, especially when that group controls so much of the media where I live, though I am careful to disentangle individuals of the group with the group in general. I do believe that one is to some extent responsible for the actions of one’s group at large. The actions of a nation, of an ethnic group, especially against others, are not just the responsibility of the elites in power who made the decisions but also the ones who allowed those people to come in power. When a nation or people, as a collective, chooses some system or leader or development strategy, they should take some responsibility for the outcomes and “dictatorship” or “democracy” is not an excuse. Fundamentally, what I am describing is actual democracy, as opposed any democratic system by name or by election. If Americans want to elect “democratically” their leaders and their leaders make shitty decisions against their interests and country at large, they should take responsibility for it and blame themselves for choosing such people to elect or blame the election system that is the root of it all. On this, I recall how this guy way smarter than me technically (also of Jewish descent), on my mentioning of a guy I know whose parents were from the USSR whose grandfather could only become a theoretical physics professor in some remote university the name I remember not, was like: “his parents helped destroy the Soviet Union,” followed by that if he, who moved to Israel, were still in Russia, he would be working for MacDonalds, with reference to the economic crisis there in the 90s that was statistically far more murderous and damaging than Stalin’s purges. It was then that occurred to me again that as unpleasant and sad as it may be to accept, Soviets and Russians share collective responsibility for promoting certain wrong people to power in the Soviet era that rendered their nation less competitive and especially for their later letting oligarchs, many of them Jewish, wreck their country irrecoverably, a specific of the generality I had just described. That many of those mega civilization and wealth leechers/destroyers were Jewish tells us more that anti-Semitism is not without reason, and Jews should all take some responsibility for it. Pardon any cultural bias, but this brings to mind a famous quote attributed to Chairman Mao which is “世界上没有无缘无故的爱,也没有无缘无故的恨”,that translates to “the world has no love without reason and no hate without reason,” an obvious reality of human nature that I believe one of high moral character ought to always be cognizant of.

Humanities

I’ve been very distracted by humanities lately and I am even contemplating making a career in it, which would have been farthest from my mind in high school or college. In high school, I struggled greatly with English class when in the novels I was forced to read, I couldn’t understand what was going on half of the time, due to misunderstanding of definitions of words or lack of requisite familiarity with the cultural context. There is also that I only started learning English at age 6, without being exposed to it much at home, which means I don’t know the English names of certain household items. Literature made little sense to me, but history I rather liked, though I disliked the American rendition of history.

I started reading Chinese online in high school. It was very difficult for me at that time, but gradually I was able to make sense of things. For language at school, I took Spanish and I was horrendous at it. I’ve forgotten most of it by now, but I could easily relearn it with my much enhanced level of verbal maturity. I’m not very motivated to learn Spanish anymore because there isn’t very much high culture in it (pardon my snobbery).

I hardly took humanities courses in college, but I did take a few that were required. I remember vividly how in the writing class I took most of the students couldn’t write coherently at all. I did starting in my third year of college develop an interest in Chinese poetry. I remember spending quite a while to memorize 蜀道难, without understanding what it was really saying as it was full of type of Chinese language literary that I had no exposure to at that time. I started reading Baidu Baike without feeling like it was too overwhelming.

In high school and even in college, it never occurred to me to take humanities seriously. There are no jobs in that. And students who major in it, at least not in the very top schools, are pretty fucking dumb. Additionally, I always considered language my weak point. In high school, I remember calculus being super easy for me while English class being almost torture. I had to really force myself to write those literary analyses and memorize the details of what happened in the each chapter of Dubliners by James Joyce so that I could actually ace the quizzes. Honestly, how do you fucking expect high school students to really understand what’s going on in that.

Early in my fourth year of undergraduate, I started learning Russian out of a desire to understand the lyrics of some beautiful Russian songs. Also, the grammar of the language, being highly inflectional, was quite fascinating. Also, the Soviet Union, which shaped the course of 20th century history so substantially, was viewed by me as an entity to be understood to a reasonable level.

I know American education really emphasizes liberal education where in undergraduate you study very generally. It is in contrast to many other systems, where students focus mostly on their major in college. In China, the education system of which was influenced by the Soviet Union in the 50s, has very specific majors, where say you major and engineering and by the time you graduate you are already sort of an expert in a very narrow part of engineering, such as automobile engines. So because of that, I didn’t actually learn a ton of math or computer science despite majoring in them, although it also had to do with my having been quite dysfunctional back then.

On humanities, I’ve also seen people who major in them as rather spoiled. “English literature” was cited by a Chinese immigrant engineer I worked with as something for rich people who don’t have to worry about making a living. Yes, there are actually parents who pay for their kids’ tuition at a non-state school which is like $50k / year now for them to study a useless subject with no employment prospects, and I’ve even seen cases of parents paying them for continual study. To be fair, just being able to study is already privilege. After all, most people in this world not by choice are engaged in menial labor that is often also dangerous and bad for health. It’s especially egregious when these useless humanities students (many of whom aren’t even any good at humanities or language) also support very unprogressive and even vile politics. There are probably many of those at many of America’s Ivies (I’ve been told that at Yale the major for kids who party too much to graduate is American Studies). On that other hand, there are obvious advantages of entitlement, which I won’t go into.

I grew up in very ordinary middle class American neighborhoods, surrounded by very ordinary people. I wasn’t like the other kids at all, though the environment made me fit in artificially. That there are parents who spend over $50k / year on enrichment for their (often idiot) children was so foreign to me at that time. I believed firmly in, by virtue of upbringing, meritocracy, and the gradual realization of the world’s so not being that way was rather disillusioning. Why play it fair when you don’t have to? Instead of feeling of disgust at such, I have evolved to view it as very normal and inherent to human nature.

As for humanities, I haven’t been reading novels in their entirety, which I don’t really have the patience for, but I have learned countless words in Chinese, English, and Russian, which I have a much better memory for now. The humanities culture in China, a rich civilization and culture of millennia, which I have indirect access to via my internet connection, has deeply impressed me. I read classic poetry in it and imagine how anybody could have possibly written this. It is evident that I am still quite a ways away from the big brains in anything, and it is possible that I am simply not naturally talented enough. I will say though that most kids in my current generation, especially in America, are as dumb and ignorant as rocks. Is this due to genetic deterioration or due to the degenerate culture that pervades my generation? I feel like much is the inability of many to recognize that latter and the mental courage to counter it at the expense of some degree of social isolation. We are in an era of civilizational decline, and when I say this, I echo the private exchanges among many highly gifted and aesthetically discerning people who must hide to some degree in the suffocating atmosphere of this country, especially in the corporate world.

Most of my friends are in STEM, in fields like math or software engineering, so the types within my milieu constitute a rather lopsided group. I have little contact with any in the world of humanities and social science in America and I am curious as to what kind of people they are. Well, Steve Hsu says many of them are high V lower M types, confused, in the likes of Stephen Gould. My temporary loss of interest in mathy material is worrisome. Am I degenerating into those I looked down on as saying nothing of substance. (In case you haven’t noticed, I am saying absolutely nothing of substance right now, but perhaps it needs to be said for social and political reasons, as part of an cultural/ideological war in some sense?) Perhaps this is an artifact towards my intelligence shifting more towards the verbal end of things? Could it possibly be that now with some more years of organic cognitive maturation I am now metamorphosing towards the reverse direction of lopsidedness?

When I talk with people in the software profession, it is apparent that they are types for whom learning natural language is unintuitive, despite programming being a very languagy pursuit, with many programmers conspicuously bad at math, as the work is of a very qualitative nature. There had been to me many parallels to writing in software engineering to my blind intuition but such is clearly not the case empirically.

There are many people, especially certain parents, who will say that once you’re an age, you can’t just study and that you have to go out and earn money and do something that’s directly useful to others, that makes some tangible contribution to society. That can be writing software or building houses or scrubbing toilets. But it can’t be hiding in academia, especially in a subject like pure math or comparative literature. There are all these stereotypes of about those in pursuit of or already in possession of Permanent Head Damage as kids who don’t want to grow up many of whom also lack common sense or have no practical skills, who manage to put spoons and forks flat on the dishwasher. There are also stereotypes in virtually all societies that those people only know books and are often too uppity to engage in forms of labor regarded as more menial.

I thought that maybe I could go into history or political science or language. Maybe I could even make a career in that. It’s not impossible. Or maybe even go into the legal profession?

I’m at a loss on where to take my life as software, which I’m not bad at, does seem not to marry my personality. Most software engineers will see me as too weird for say learning Russian on my own. Now am I one of those dysfunctional weirdos who can only survive in academia, which we already know has no jobs? Also, at this point, I am mostly a consumer, rather than a producer, of knowledge, a state of intellectual incapacity that will hopefully alter itself. There have been times when I could not help but see myself as good for nothing, though surely my standards on that are quite high. Hopefully, I can find something in which I can truly excel and even make a name for myself. Let’s see if that happens.

Languages

I find myself increasingly into languages and the humanities, more exclusively verbally loaded things. This is in contrast with my high school self, who was quite weak with that. I recall struggling greatly with English class. I dreaded reading novels and writing those BS literary analyses of them because there were so many places where I’d be completely at sea, and plus, I wasn’t very good with writing or communication in any way. Also, I lacked common sense and general knowledge, indispensable for literature. From that I could only conclude that I’m very naturally bad at literature and at verbal things.

I also remember being having really low self-esteem in third grade because I couldn’t read Harry Potter, which many of the other kids seemed to have with ease and with great enjoyment. I only started learning English at almost 6.5 years of age, so I guess I do have some excuse for sucking at these things. Also, there was also this slang I didn’t know even in middle school, which the other kids taunted me for. I was also overly literal minded and couldn’t get jokes or idioms. Maybe because I was borderline autistic? Who knows.

Anyhow, with some more years of age all this has mostly disappeared. I still wouldn’t consider myself super high V, like +4 sigma at this. If I were, I wouldn’t have to look up so many Russian words despite having studied it (entirely independently, with some long hiatuses) since fall of 2013! That I did by accident on my desire to understand the lyrics of Катюша (Katyusha), which is such a beautiful song. From this, I was brought into the beauty of Soviet music, which I listen to regularly to this day. Those composers were such high aesthetic discernment! I can’t think of any national music that is better than Soviet music!

Because I’m not a genius, unlike Pushkin or Lenin, I feel like I actually have to do deliberate practice; I can’t just learn by osmosis, even with internet dictionaries and Google translate. Sure, one can say I never had formal training, but I don’t think formal training makes much difference. The genuinely gifted tend to be able to learn things on their own without feeling like they’re trying. And needless to say, no matter what instruction you are given, it’s still up to you to form the mental processes required for mastery.

The best way to do deliberate practice is to perform some translations, at my current level. I’ll do one here, on this writing of Lenin on anti-Semitism. From doing this, I can hopefully remember all the words that I don’t know permanently. To be less uncreative, I’ll do it in a very analytical way, you’ll see what I mean.

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Антисемитизмом называется распространение вражды к евреям. Anti-Semitism is on called enlarged spread of enmity towards Jews. Когда проклятая царская монархия доживала свое последнее время, она старалась натравить темных рабочих и крестьян на евреев. What time сursed Tsarist monarchy to lived its through track time, she tried on incite dark workers and peasants on Jews. Царская полиция в союзе с помещиками и капиталистами устраивала еврейские погромы. Tsarist police in union with through place and capitalists with concrete purpose build Jewish through thunder. Ненависть измученных нуждой рабочих и крестьян помещики и капиталисты старались направить на евреев. Not on see from wear out by need workers and peasants landlords and capitalists tried on drive on Jews. И в других странах приходится видеть нередко, что капиталисты разжигают вражду к евреям, чтобы засорить глаза рабочего, чтобы отвлечь их взоры от настоящего врага трудящихся – от капитала. And in other countries motion inwards go see without sparsity, that capitalists enlarged burn enmity towards Jews, what conditionally cover waste eyes of workers, what conditionally away attract them in dawn away on standing enemy of working people – from capital. Вражда к евреям держится прочно только там, где кабала помещиков и капиталистов создала беспросветную темноту рабочих и крестьян. Enmity towards Jews holds firmly only there, where bondage of landlords and capitalists with built without having light darkness of workers and peasants. Только совсем темные, совсем забитые люди могут верить лжи и клевете, распространяемой против евреев. Only with all dark, with all with beaten people can believe lies and libel, enlarged spread against Jews. Это – остатки старого крепостного времени, когда попы заставляли сжигать еретиков на кострах, когда существовало рабство крестьян, когда народ был задавлен и безгласен. These – of stay of old serf time, what time priests with to make burn heretics on stake, what time existed slavery of peasants, what time on humanity were on weighed and without voice. Эта старая крепостническая темнота проходит. Народ становится зрячим. This old feudal darkness through go. People become able to see.

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I stopped after the first paragraph. There are few more. I won’t continue on like this because it’s a bit too tedious and not the best use of my time. This exercise did help much educationally for me.

What Lenin described is basically a common tactic used by colonialists (and current day corporate executives), namely directing their enemy against a harmless, easy to target group, to distract them, in this specific case with Jews as the scapegoat. Compared to divide and conquer, where British colonialists incite X Indian to kill Y Indian, after which British colonialists kill X Indian, this is actually rather mild. I wonder what pieces Lenin wrote on the divide and conquer tactic.

In light of divide and conquer, the communists lost the Cold War after many great triumphs because they fought too much against themselves. The Sino-Soviet split weakened the socialist camp tremendously. By the 80s, the USSR was more behind, and America through soft, ideological means successfully brought about its implosion. The same almost happened with China with the 89 protests, but China did not do what the USSR stupidly did.

There’s also what Michael O Church loves to say, that in Silicon Valley, the executive scumbags love to fuel tensions between the working class and intellectual class. To those throwing rocks at Google shuttles, it’s like dude, you’re attacking the wrong people! This also brings to mind the classic tactic of enticing one’s enemy group with wealth and benefits to bring them to your side. The American elite did that during the Cold War to its working classes and they won with that, and after the pressure on them (from an external power) was over, they believed they could get away with depriving medical care and creating a higher education bubble and did just that. My friend loves to say that we won’t have a revolution because it’s much easier now for rich people to give poor people a little more to get them to shut up. People aren’t starving anymore.

I’ve read writing about how psychopathy, or the willingness and ability to take advantage of others, propels people to the top. Psychopathy I’m sure also runs in families. Now the question is how much longer will the world be ruled by psychopaths who suck people’s blood. I can’t imagine that changing in the next century. Humans are too awful and defective. However, maybe once we discover the genes for psychopathy, we can do something about that. 😉