Metacognitive musings

It feels like ages since I last posted here, though a month ago is short in the time frame of great minds, who endeavor on projects for years and even decades. Since then, much has passed through my mind philosophically and meta-cognitively that I have not kept record of out of a belief in their triviality and lack of detail as well as the lack of natural inclination to write them out, compared to before. Though I share my thoughts with close friends through private (or not so, as nothing is private nowadays, electronically) channels, my past month has been loaded more on the intake end as far as text is concerned, with much of it being in Russian, and to my great pleasure, I now converse in it regularly with a number of people non-orally, including a charming, talented girl who won a worldwide chess championship for those under a specified age group.

Now to propagate my bull shit mental signals to eternity. I recall in some math circle, the motto was “existence is a state of mind.” I identify with this quite deeply. One cognitively mature to a sufficient degree can appreciate that what one experiences consciously, the extent to which it can be precisely characterized in qualitative terms, is a function of brain structure. Steve Hsu has proposed on his blog a toy model where there are n genes, each with some (finite) number of variants. This can be represented as a (bounded) lattice on an n-dimensional space, on which some metric can be defined, that correlates with reasonable metrics for outward behavior and cognitive manifestations. This space has been far from exhausted by all organisms which have lived on this planet. In particular, the theoretical extreme relative to the realized one is almost certainly Mount Everest relative to molehills which occur at several orders of magnitude higher of frequency. To go back to the motto, we must clarify that the “existence” here by the very context in which it resides is what can be perceived mentally by the human brain, which is very likely a minuscule subset of the theoretical maximum of biological perception of the world.

Growing up is a process of realizing successively how broken one’s former brain was. Eventually, provided that one is above some threshold in IQ, it will dawn on one that there are people capable to perceiving the world much more clearly and correctly than you can, and that there is a much higher world that one is incapable of experiencing. One sees the great extent to which what one becomes is determined at conception.

Different people think very differently, much of it owing to nature. People have different upbringings, which accounts for much of the variance in what one is exposed to, but when one is an adult and settles independently, one is more able to choose what to expose oneself in a free manner, free of cultural constraints, especially with the near ubiquitous access to information nowadays. To illustrate, a good example would be the countless I’ve seen go from evangelical to atheist and the reverse. This is especially so, in my opinion, for those higher on the bell curve, who are harder to control mentally.

I myself am a materialist, as is obvious from the thesis of this post. God to me is Mother Nature. I will not say I am an atheist as such cannot be definitely proven or witnessed before afterlife but I will shy away perhaps with partiality in the other direction. It is a misfortune maybe that God has produced me to be incapable of being penetrated by him and I have wondered what it would feel like to be the complement of what I am, though such is of course futile assuming non-existence of brain transplants. On this note, religiosity is, according to my reading online, rather heritable (surprise surprise), and it has occurred to me that perhaps those of East Asian descent due to a divergent branch of evolution are less prone to religiosity, especially with my seeing that Japan, in addition to the heathen middle kingdom, now directed by a Marxist-Leninist (or maybe only in name) party, is also high in its degree of secularity. The aggression within missionary men has both amazed and perplexed me. What is it, after all, that enables the conviction that those conquered, enslaved, culturally teared apart, are in fact being saved in the name of God or to be less extreme that there is such a holy duty to proliferate this conception of the human mind, a product of God itself, (or not) that fuels such intrusive and unceasing behavior, often targeted towards the young, impressionable, and often impoverished? I do not see behavior anywhere near in degree of magnitude exhibited within those on the reverse end of the religious/ideological spectrum, as an expected value. One’s religious faith, as far as I see, ought to be a private affair that is respected regardless of differences, barring cases of excessive and grotesque infringement. Moreover, the Christian culture, the Abrahamic tradition, is one I seek to know more about on a factual basis, as it is an integral and indispensable part of the Western culture that is dominant globally today owing to the exponential leap in penetration of thought and sophistication of production sprung forth by an explosive awakening of the slumbered Greek and Roman, tearing fetters and opening grand vistas the last half millennium.

How to see heaven and earth in the eyes of a demigod? How to transcend mankind? How to control the own evolution of man? The very essence of our existence, the cognitive of it, to be unveiled the years soon to come!

共产主义何能实现(how to realize communism)

我突然想起在DNA Dreams (中文粗翻译为《DNA梦想》),徐道辉(Stephen Hsu),大概为:if we could shift the mean IQ of a society in one direction, we could bring forth one that would be very qualitatively different in a way that would be unrealistic in the society prior to the shift.

This reminds of communism, communism as in from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. I’ll first say that even capitalist societies are already very much like that. People generally go into professions that they’re talented in. If one has multiple things one can do, one has to make a pick in favor of one, as one has only 24 hours in a day. There are economic incentives now for this, say for one to pick say computer science over physics, which has no jobs and pays below what a schoolteacher or police officer is paid. Another example would be choosing NFL/NBA (where the big bucks are) over track and field.

I have always perceived money as very artificial. I don’t think my life would change that much if I become super rich. How you feel is more determined by what you know and how your brain is wired, and what you actually do, than how much money you have. I also have doubts on the use of money to motivate people to do better work, especially on the creative end. It works and it doesn’t. In fact, I would say in that in an ideal society people, or at least the ones with the ability and spirit, should be able to do creative work without having to worry too much about money, which is far from the case nowadays. Our society is being so money obsessed (or compelled) due to the so called Satanic Trinity (education, health care, housing). People are scared of falling behind on that game that the system forces people to play.

In my silly K-12 social studies class, we were told that communism doesn’t work because people don’t have an incentive. X could be doing all this work and Y could be doing nothing and at the end they’d get the same. This is such a gross oversimplification of a very complex matter, looking at human nature in a binary way essentially. People edit Wikipedia for free. People volunteer for the homeless and disadvantaged, for free. People go into science for almost nothing. In companies, you’ll find that the stars contribute like 10 times or more, or in some cases, infinity times more by solving a problem nobody else can than the median. Those people are generally higher ranked too on the ladder, but their salary is not matched by difference in magnitude of their contribution. The people who do make 10x more, or even 100x, are largely people planted in positions of parasitism by having the right social connections, playing the politics right, etc. That’s just how broken the current system is, and we all have to live with it, or not.

Again, in those social studies classes, we debated why America is the most innovative and the most successful country in the world. People will say freedom. Freedom to do your own thing, to start your own company, to be a non-conformist. While there is an element of that, it’s rather overblown in my opinion. There are other, more influential factors omitted here: such as the exploitation of labor (remember that America is a nation founded on dispossession and slavery), vast natural resources per capita (and also a geographic position that immunes America from war, barring civil war), and import of foreign talent. With such advantages, it’s almost impossible for America not to be number one. Especially, after WWII, when so many of the best and brightest from Europe came to America. Many of the top Manhattan Project scientists were foreigners, many of them Jewish. Many of the top scientists and engineers (like von Braun) of the space program were captured Nazis. In the 90s, America got a huge chunk of the best and brightest of the former USSR and its satellite states. From the 80s on, many of the smartest young people from mainland China came to the US as well. Those people could hypothetically be making China or the USSR/Russia better instead of making America better.

I remember Nassim Taleb has a high opinion of the America system’s tolerance and encouragement of ad hoc tinkering and experimentation. He cites these Europeans who criticize Americans for being uncultured or lacking knowledge or whatever, and it’s like: you guys writing this silly criticism in Microsoft Word, while looking up stuff on Google, on your iPhone, and all of that was created in America! He does have a very good point. Why do Europeans not create and use their own? Is it because their system is too egalitarian and discourages entrepreneurship? I’m not the most qualified to answer this, but I’ll say that Europe is more or less subordinate to America. There’s NATO and the EU and all that. Also, those technologies listed are very marketing, business driven products. For instance, Microsoft won in the reasonable judgment of many mostly due to its business and legal tactics. Also, Taleb has done some cherrypicking. Linux, an arguably better from a technical point of view operating system, was created by a Finnish genius in his early 20s. American cars lost to Japanese cars and they’re nowhere near able to compete with German cars, because they were objectively worse. I know almost nothing about cars, but I know Japanese cars are more fuel efficient and last longer. America as far as I see it is a society very into marketing and superficial things. It does not revere and respect people who do hard science and technology, real things, enough.

I’ll also say that America is very much a nation of taking advantage of and breeding the ignorant, for the benefit of people with capital. If people were smarter, it would be harder for banks to get people to not pay their credit cards or take on shitty deals. It would be harder for universities for fool people into paying so much for such a shitty education that gets most people nowhere. America also de-emphasizes discipline and self-control. Hey, even Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Also, isn’t discipline and self-control counter to creativity, to the freedom that makes America so successful? This might seem the case intuitively to a naive one, but creative people will tell you that’s so not the case. With everything, there’s a right, systematic way of doing things that is required to be creative. I’m somewhat of an iconoclast I suppose, but I have a high opinion of discipline and self-control. In any case, these words are so vague, mean so little, that it’s rather pointless to use them. You need to be more specific.

I have asked a friend of mine in his 30s, who’s seen much more of the world than I have, if we’ll ever reach the point where education and health care are more or less free, where people don’t have to worry about money much. He, very optimistically in my view, said probably in 30 years or so. I sure hope so, because the current system is very obsolete with respect to the level of technology and production we have available. Self driving cars, AI, will only put more people out of job, and we need to find a place for them.

I recall that in the 50s and 60s, it was widely believed, especially in the socialist camp, that there would be a world revolution and that we would eventually attain communism. This had arguably reached its height in the mid 50s. In the early 50s, America was in a rather passive position ideologically, especially when it was not successful in the Korean War. McCarthyism did not happen for no reason. As a law of nature, any entity whose survival at risk will go to extremes. The denunciation of Stalin by Khrushchev in fact weakened the prestige of the Soviet Union tremendously. Many pro-left people in the West lost hope from that. There was a great ideological rift between the USSR and China following that. The Chinese believed that the Soviets were being revisionists and that their party leadership was being gradually infected by ones who secretly wanted to restore capitalism, or whatever you call it. It was widely believed, according to the writings of Chinese party leaders, that the transition from capitalism to socialism to communism was to be this great social transformation that would span decades or even centuries, with importance, scale, and qualitative difference equal to that of the transformation from feudalism to capitalism in Europe, and that the process would need much consolidation over a long period of time. To them, without that, there could easily be a relapse, and there was, as evidenced by the disastrous (you can look up the increased death rates in Russia that was coupled with prolonged economic depression) disintegration of the USSR and to a lesser extent by the Chinese economic reform. On the opposite view, such was viewed by liberals in the West as the “end of history,” as termed by Fukuyama.

This end of history theory is becoming increasingly discredited more with China’s success and rise. In the 90s, however, it was quite mainstream. In this talk, Kong Qingdong characterized himself as having become political out of what he perceived as the need for him to do so, referring to how in the 90s, the atmosphere in China was so dangerously liberal and pro-West, which is not surprising as the failure of the USSR made everyone suspicious of the whole system and ideology that it had promulgated. If not that, he said he, as a very well-behaved kid, would have become purely a scholar, an academic in a more or less apolitical way. He spoke of how in the 90s, writings in China which criticized America or imperialism had difficulty being published, and in addition to that, he mentioned the laying off of millions of workers from the privatization of many state owned enterprises that enriched many with party connections. The 90s was in some sense a low point, akin to China from the 1927 through the 30s or the Bolsheviks following the failed 1905 Russian Revolution.

It seems though now that China may well surpass America, with its only being a matter of time, a proposition that would have been beyond the pale in the 90s. Back then, people had serious doubts on China’s ability to innovate with its system, coupled with aspects of traditional Chinese culture viewed as not conducive to non-derivative R&D. People cited how the successful countries were all democracies, and the Chinese dissident Fang Lizhi, who produced some first rate work in astrophysics, had openly said that in order for China to become developed, it would need to adopt the parliamentary democratic system. The financial crisis in 2008-9 ruined America’s credibility enormously, especially given that China in many ways appeared virtually unscathed by it. Since then, China has made enormous progress technologically as well. Representative examples are its high speed trains as well as the development of its passenger aircraft. China has also developed an indigenous CPU, Loongson, which is already proliferating across government and military organizations in China. It is their goal to create a whole software ecosystem around their hardware, as has been done for Intel’s. Of course, there is all this military technology too, the details of which are highly classified. A guy from China once said to me that the system there, with its network of state owned enterprises, can complete projects with little delay. Some might say that none of that is very creative, as it is all large scale engineering. As for that, there is basic science, and while China is quite a ways away there, they seem to be improving rapidly. In that respect, Chinese have done exceedingly well in America. Now with more money, many of the best scientists abroad can be lured back and a higher percentage of the best of the younger generation will stay in China to conduct their research. The career prospects in America for scientists are quite dismal, and China I would say has a chance of competing there. As a consequence, a much higher percentage of people in China will be able to enjoy the luxury of doing basic science research. Rather beside the point, but I’d like to note that Fields Medallist Alain Connes has written that the European system is better for breeding truly original thinkers in math who open up new fields, with its having less pressure for grants and for results produced on a shorter time frame than the American tenure system. He expressed his belief that the Soviet mathematicians would have done better had they stayed in the old Soviet system, where the job was just to talk about science. We can see how Perelman solved the Poincare back in Steklov Institute in Russia after America offered him no tenured position and how Yitang Zhang was failed by the American system, where you need to play it safe to secure your next position.

There is even a camp of scholars who believe with confidence that the future will be China’s, that of the IQ proponents, representative figures of which include Philippe Rushton and Richard Lynn. Richard Lynn has written here that China will win after discovering the genes for IQ. It is definitely not impossible, and Steve Hsu has already worked with BGI on that. This goes back to Steve Hsu’s remark on that hypothetical society that can function in a way that the current one cannot because its constituents, its ones in positions of power especially, are too unintelligent. On this, I see a parallel between two highly politically sensitive words in America, which are communism and IQ. I’ll say, judging from their writings, that many of the leaders and scholars of and associated with the Chinese Communist Party in the 20s were highly intelligent, as were Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Mao, all of whom were philosophers very profound and one could say, attaching a somewhat subjective judgment, visionary in their thinking. Mao wrote some of the most beautiful and high quality Chinese poetry, from a literary point of view. It seems that the Chinese with extraordinary literary or verbal gifts are more Maoist leaning, with on the other hand, Deng Xiaoping’s, dubbed by many on the left in China as the father of its corruption, for having promoted short-sighted people like Zhao Ziyang and Hu Yaobang who contributed to negative outcomes of the Tiananmen Square protests, being noted for having a dumb mouth and a dumb pen. Examples include Kong Qingdong, Li Ao, and Lang Xianping. I see the possibility of what many would perceive as too far-fetched: China’s becoming more communist as it closes in on the mystery of human intelligence.

When I was a kid, I thought over-simplistically, not having the intellectual capacity to reason rationally and rigorously. I could not imagine all those people who did crazy things, from geniuses to suicide bombers. I believed that what was easy/difficult for me would be the same for others and that people who struggled were not working hard enough. As I grew cognitively, I became increasingly aware that free will was bunk, that people are not in control of the way they are in a strict sense of the word. The way they are wired biologically correlates with what they become in a statistically predictable way. Science and the American Dream are in opposition to each other. We have in theory the resources for the most part to provide people with what is appropriate for them. This does not happen though in many places due to special interest groups, the hoarding of wealth, and deficiencies in resources affordably accessible to the public at large, based on needs of individuals. America, as unequal as it is, has an irrationally egalitarian education system that comes with stuff like No Child Left Behind. In America, the school one attends is based finely on where one lives, a proxy for parental socioeconomic status, or one of those fancy shmancy prep schools for kids whose parents can afford it, whereas in many other countries, like Germany, it is determined by what is most suitable for the kid given his performance and ability. In America, many employers now require a bachelors for jobs with nothing to do with academic learning, and colleges see this as a way to inflate their tuition, further oppressing the majority of people. There is also the medical system, which I will not go into. America will only further discredit itself by doing this; its facade cannot go on forever.

Let’s see what happens in the 21st century. Humanity may well undergo arguably its most revolutionary transformation ever yet, the ability to predict and control the types of people being born and from doing so realize a resemblance of the ideal society envisioned by Marx.


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.


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.


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. 😉

The chosen people

I have always had a fascination with Jews as a group. They are after all this super high achieving, creative ultra minority group that accounts for like 25% of the people at the top of various disciplines. Most notable are mathematics and physics. In math, you have von Neumann, Grothendieck, Paul Cohen, etc. In physics, the list is even longer: Einstein, Feynman, Gellman, Landau, Teller, too many to name. And these are the brainiest fields. But also, Jews excel at the highest levels in literature and music and in softer sciences. Marx, Freud, Chomsky, etc. They also excel in finance, law, and entrepreneurship. Look at the founders of some of the important SV firms and the top Wall Street hedge funds. This is rather universal. Even in the Soviet Union, some of the most prominent musicians and film producers were Jewish. Sergei Eisenstein, Iosif Kobzon. And many of the most infamous Russian oligarchs are Jewish too. In that realm, comes to mind Roman Abramovich, that guy who, in addition to marrying a trophy wife, bought the world’s best soccer team!

People use IQ as an explanation. Jews as a group, as we all know, have a very high median IQ (with extra advantage at verbal), and we all know what effect such has on the far tail (assuming same sigma (even there, Jews may be higher)). But could IQ alone account for most of such disproportionate achievement? A highly talented math PhD of Jewish origin has hypothesized (and communicated such directly to me) that Jews, aside from cultural and socioeconomic advantages, have higher aesthetic discernment, which enables them to be more creative. We all know that in science and the arts, horsepower is important, but there is also the taste and vision aspect.

I know some Jews, some of whom have lived in Israel, and I enjoy talking with them enormously. One of them I consider far smarter than I am. On the other hand, one of them, who is quite deficient academically and spouts a lot of nonsense, I have a rather low opinion of. He once sent me photos of military hardware that China bought and cloned from Israel to express to me how uncreative Chinese people are. I had already know, from talking with people in China, that China imported some cutting edge military technology from Israel, especially in the 80s. Earlier today, I glanced through the page on the Six Day War, the one in which Israel decisively defeated Arab countries that the Soviet Union had supported during the Cold War. It further reinforced my impression of how formidable the Israeli military is. I know that they have nuclear weapons, and are widely believed to possess thermonuclear ones as well, which they are very confident work despite not having tested them. A guy I talk to, who is doing a PhD in string theory at a top school, of very neutral Indian origin, however, says that they didn’t develop them on their own. (In contrast, it is almost universally accepted that China developed those independently in the 60s after the Soviet experts left.) To my great surprise, Gwydion Madawc Williams, who is highly knowledgeable about history and politics in an objective way, has publicized his doubts as to whether Israel would even survive in the long run. That seems to me quite far-fetched. Even though the demographics, and perhaps even public opinion, is against them, they are too competent and powerful (with weapons of mass destruction) not to survive. I may be wrong though in that judgement, with my near total lack of knowledge at the detailed level.

Yes, I know almost nothing about Jewish culture or even about Israel. I recall learning about it in my bull shit history class senior year of high school, which had the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as one of its major units. I know who Herzl was, what the Balfour Declaration was, and other such commonly known facts. However, how could a 17 year old possibly understand something like that in any deep, non-trivial way? Maybe in my spare time, I can actually accumulate all that requisite knowledge of biblical history as well as of the modern one. And learn some Hebrew too. If only I had the intellectual horsepower to devour that alongside Chinese language and history, which is already boundless enough. In spite of the great degree of my lack of JvN, I’ll do what I can. I could at least do better than all those Jews I’ve talked to who’ve said completely ridiculous things about Chinese culture and history to me. Jewish culture is little known and misunderstood outside those who practice it, but Chinese culture is far more so, with China having been traditionally isolated from and developed almost entirely independently of the West, alongside the freeze in relations with America following the Korean War that lasted for 20 years, the legacy of which is still ubiquitous today in America, around which global culture revolves. Though I grew up almost entirely in America, someone as intelligent as I am inevitably realized over time that the American or Western portrayal of Chinese culture, both the traditional one, and the PRC one, is more or less nonsense, and factually inaccurate in many ways. To de-brainwash myself on that one, I did what any reasonable person would do: read a ton of Chinese online, learning it in the process.

I’ll conclude by writing that as far as I see it, Jewish intellectual supremacy is hard to deny. As a group, Jews really do seem to produce a lion’s share of the geniuses, and by genius, I mean one who radically changes a field, who produces revolutionary work, as opposed to one who merely becomes professor at first rate university. It won’t be a surprise if this persists for quite a while, perhaps through the 21st century. People love to talk about now how in the young generation, it is the East Asian students who are outperforming, with their domination now of the IMO and Putnam contests, and other olympiads, as well as their increasing population in hard STEM departments in universities. There is still however some doubt on their ability to create new fields, to alter the face of science, as there is the widespread belief that East Asians are not as creative. Though I definitely cannot say with confidence, at this point, that Jewish ultra intellectual elite can be matched, I do think the aforementioned hypothesis regarding East Asians is rather overblown. I’ll explain why in the next paragraph.

First of all, I’ve come to realize that Japan has been producing ceiling creative people at a very high rate since they’ve been a developed country. This is true for mathematics, for physics, for engineering, for video games, for anime. That Jewish math PhD cited earlier in this post feels the same. Their high performance in science is evident from the plethora of Japanese names at the apex of various scientific fields who created their own directions which turned out to be extremely important and fundamental. In theoretical fields, Yoichiro Nambu, Hideki Yukawa, Goro Shimura, Kiyoshi Ito, Kenkichi Iwasawa, too many to name. Japanese have won a lion’s share of Nobel Prizes in the 21st century. Given such, it’s ironic that Satoshi Kanazawa wrote that Asians can’t think. People then will point to China and its underperformance. For that, one needs to keep in mind that China did not begin rapid modernization until the 1950s, whereas Japan was already more or less an advanced country during WWII. The high level of poverty, the great need for applied work, which diverted many of the smartest people away from pure science, and political movements such as the Cultural Revolution that substantially disrupted pure research all contributed to this. China following the reforms had many of its best and brightest go to American PhD programs, with most of them not returning, many of them eventually becoming professors in good or top American universities. It seems like that that cohort of mainland Chinese in America did exceedingly well, many becoming quite distinguished. As for conformism, if one knows the slightest about 20th century Chinese revolutionary culture and history, it will be apparent that Chinese are plenty non-conformist. That way smarter than me guy with Jewish blood, who I talk to regularly, once said that Jews produce the greatest extremes in virtually every direction, from Benjamin Netanyahu to Norman Finkelstein, from Garry Kasparov to Bobby Fischer, which I could not disagree with. As I learned more about 20th century Chinese history and culture though, I feel like Chinese are plenty crazy too. Politically, there is the very original culture and political system created by the Chinese communists, and on the other direction, you have liberal anti-communists like Fang Lizhi as well as Liu Xiaobo and other Tiananmen Square liberals who are now saying crazy things in America in the likes of Kasparov and Fischer. The Chinese communists developed one of a kind methods of warfare that proved to be highly successful, that enabled them ultimately to fight successfully against the most powerful country in the world, proving Chinese military ability in the modern era for the first time. However, due to cultural and linguistic isolation, coupled with political bias from the West, this is little known by the rest of world.

I’ll conclude by saying that all of this, on Jews, on East Asians, is rather consistent with theories derived from psychometrics. Psychometrics would predict, based on their higher base IQs, that those two groups would be vastly overrepresented within the intellectual elite, as they are. And it also seems to me that higher IQ really does make people more likely to be non-conformist and extreme, not only intellectually but also politically. Genius and madness go together.

Programming types

Programming, the intense hacker side of it, attracts a certain breed of person. In short, I would put it as that it attracts those who are higher in autism than in g, though of course one needs to be reasonably high in both, especially the verbal side of g, as its activity is largely one of reading (of logs and documentation) and writing (of code (and its supporting documentation), the quality of which has good variable names as a major component). I do feel at times that programmers, even elite ones, are lacking in scientific taste. Many of them are mathematically null. They thrive on and even love the detailed minutiae involved in the work, such as encodings (like UTF, ASCII, that type of thing), the ins and outs of Unix, and arcane facts of various languages. I had to encounter in my work today parsing of CSV files, and it turned out that the CSV reader was not reading under the correct encoding. I ended up diffing my output with the output generated via a means more or less guaranteed to work to aid such’s diagnosis. I’m not bad at this type of thing any longer, having trained myself or more like grown to be able to patiently resolve such problems in a systematic, foolproof fashion.

Does that mean I enjoy this type of thing? No, not at all, though I find it tolerable, more or less. Too autistic for me. It does not have the depth that mathematics has. It has not the beauty of poetry or of music. It has not the wittiness of words or the expressiveness of (human) language. Nor does it have the significance on the world that politics has. There are more meaningful to be doing than programming, though needless to say there is much demand for it as the world now runs on computer programs, which are written mostly by politically incompetent and often socially awkward who answer to morons with MBAs.

I’ve come to notice that programmers tend to be very narrow. They only know programming. There are of course exceptions. Mathematicians and to a greater extent physicists are more broad, and more deep. It makes them very boring to talk with. The people who are more well rounded who are in programming are often, from my observation, in it for the easy money, which is of course paltry relative to what the parasites of our society suck in, but nonetheless a very good sum by the standards of ordinary folk.

There is of course another world of programming, that of the incompetents, who often know only Java and barely know any computer science even. They’re far from the functional programmers who I work with. This industry is so in need of grunt labor that those people manage to find their way into six figure salaries. Yes, this includes places like Google and Facebook. There are Google engineers who don’t know what the difference between stack memory and heap memory is and who think C++ pointers are scary, who make 200k a year or almost. I won’t talk more about them. Waste of breath.

Some speculation on the possible detailed linkage of brain structure to cognitive function

I recall seeing, probably first on Steve Hsu’s blog, that brain structure is highly heritable, as high as g is, surprise surprise. In fact, g, currently measured non-physically through cognitive tests, is, to my intuition, unguided by detailed relevant knowledge of the area, in its scientific essence a function of brain structure that could be computed through data obtained from a direct neurobiological measurement (through MRI and what not).

On this, I have hypothesized a future where we will be able to predict with reasonable accuracy, to a fine grain of detail, behavioral traits as complex as one’s personality or one’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses (like what subjects one will find more intuitive), which have a high heritable component, and not only that, the course of their development across age. A clone of me who lived in that world could be told at age n or so you will become like X, feel subjectively like Y, be at X \pm \sigma across age group at Z, etc, at age n+k, k > 0, k \in \mathbb{N}. Of course, if say n = 6, I would only respond with a sense of awe and incredulity, but across time, I would attain ever deeper and more realistic understanding of what was going on, as can be said for virtually every subject matter for virtually every human that has ever lived on this planet. Perhaps this is pushing it a bit too far. Learning to this degree of precision may be too much; there would not be enough data, even if we sequence every human on the planet and run on a computer cluster orders of magnitude larger and more powerful than, say, Google’s jobs which continuously improve the models. However, I do believe we will get somewhere. We will reach the point where we can deliver with reasonable level of confidence personalized medicine and education and such for every individual in a way that based on rigorous biostatistical data as opposed to on blind human intuition, which of course still works well, most of the time, as is done now. What other comes to mind is, as you can probably guess, the possibility of evolving a population vastly different from our own, perhaps one with ability far beyond that of homo sapiens (say, a population wherein everyone is smarter than John von Neumann (which I highly doubt, as that would be rather non conducive to the well functioning of the world)). As for that, as for what should be done, I have little to say other than that we’ll have to decide for ourselves. I do think it would be not a bad thing to use this newly found knowledge to eliminate severe dysfunction and suffering on this planet, which could be done through the likes of preventing the birth of, say, those prone towards severe depression or towards becoming serial killers.

We’ll have to see what happens. Maybe I will be able to see something exciting, possibly even to the level just described, in my lifetime. I am still young, after all.





How not woven the fabric of the universe
Spliced with craft
Comes together as one
Wide and broad with unparalleled mystery
Nature loves geometry
Fiber bundles describe four forces
Long unsolved problems
Euclid Gauss Riemann Cartan Chern




如何解释之?我想是大科学家,按照在Steve Hsu的博客上在关于g的讨论中用的语言,V都很高与中国老的科举的那一套结合所产生的自然结果。