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 disease, 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!

Why mathematics

I had the pleasure of chatting briefly with a math PhD student, with the conversation largely centered on what kind of math are you interested in. He is doing discrete probability and combinatorics, something along the lines of that. He said that he spent a year studying commutative algebra during undergraduate, but eventually decided that he would not do math that deep and instead is concentrating on an area with less requirement in terms of acquired knowledge and more low-hanging fruit to pick, the parts of math of a more problem solving nature. He went on to say that of the math undergraduates at his top (but not Beida or Qinghua) institution in China, by junior year, only five were studying the purist of pure math, and later during graduate school, all but one of them, who is now doing research in string theory, have given up, instead choosing not pure PDEs but PDEs for biology and the likes, to illustrate the low rate of success for pure pure math. I told him that I still want to do really deep math (of which we can use algebraic geometry) and see the parts of math not requiring deep knowledge as not as meaningful to do research in (of course, I don’t expect to succeed, realistically gauging that I am, while highly talented, not a genius). On that, he more or less said that you should try and that you never know unless you try. Of course, he did more constructively say that learning commutative algebra requires knowing deeply thousands of definitions, and just going through ten of them a day is already very good. Maybe attempting this is not terribly wise when I see people objectively smarter than I am who eventually chose easier fields, like theoretical statistics.

Now this brings me to reflect on why I am doing pure mathematics? Why am I devoting so much time and energy (with overall enjoyment and satisfaction at this point still pretty high) on this arcane, useless subject? How much of it is out of an ego to prove how smart I am versus the intrinsic thirst for the knowledge? Of course, the two are somewhat intertwined, as you’ll see in what I’m about to say.

As for my background, I studied some CS in college and also spent some years in the software industry, which I’ve grown very distasteful of. I don’t like CS people very much in general. They make a big deal out of low-hanging fruit. Like, MapReduce is trivial theoretically; it’s more about the engineering, in particular the locality to minimize network IO, which in distributed systems is usually the bottleneck. There is nothing deep about it. Algorithms is cool, and I enjoyed them, doing okay in some coding contests, solving say plenty of TopCoder 500s (but not quickly enough during the short 75 minute time frame of the contest). However, algorithms I view as more of a game, full of clever little tricks but of little substance, recreational math at best, at least the type of algorithms I did. Engineering wise, I see the value, but I don’t see myself as naturally inclined to it at all, and in fact, among the strong folks in that, I’m probably rather weak. I don’t think those people are terribly smart from an IQ point of view. They’re not as cultured in some sense. (That top MIT math major (though he works in combinatorics heh) says the same, that science is for high math high verbal people with refined intellectual tastes while engineering is for high math (note that this often does not even hold for software engineering) lower verbal folks of a dronish nature.) In any case, I don’t think I’m in the same species as all these people in software engineering who know absolutely nothing about continuous math, the type of math you see in physics, like I think that’s just bad, or at least different, taste, or simply lower IQ enough that they cannot even understand it. I thought at one point that I might want to do CS theory. Not anymore. I think that’s a cool field with many good problems, but again, much of it lacks depth and importance, often with little connection to the mainstream of mathematics.

I see mathematics as in some sense the pinnacle of human civilization and of human intelligence. I’ve probably said before that humans discovered literature, music, crafts,  and engineering (non-modern) long long time ago, but mathematics took so long, which just goes to show how unnatural it is for the human brain. It is a pursuit of truth in the rigorous and absolute sense that one sees not in natural science either, though of course, the deductive method that underlies math is thoroughly used in natural science. Moreover the structures investigated in mathematics are of such a fundamental and pure nature which often appear in reality, though of course the purists, with the Greeks as the pioneers of that, view mathematics as a Platonic ideal to be investigated for its own sake independent of reality. What the Greeks did I would say is rather unnatural, because I recall early on, it did not feel so natural for me to disentangle mathematics with the reality, having seen it more as a tool for reality.

Mathematics is so full of substance, unlike almost all other subjects. It emphasizes high quality, with often deep, fundamental ideas explained in a few pages, in austere, terse language. It is a scientific study that tolerates absolutely no bullshit and aims for the simplest possible explanation of pure, strictly incontrovertible truth by logic. It is an escapism from the mediocrity and nonsense we see in much of the world and most humans too intellectually dazed for the clear thinking necessary to perceive mathematical truth.

I see my ever greater interest and appreciation, and of course, ability and knowledge, for mathematics as an inevitable consequence of my neurobiological maturation, which is fortunately to an extent far enough that I am able to experience as much of this world of truth invisible to most humans around me, though of course, I can only admire those true geniuses, those far superior brains, who can fathom so much deeper and more rapidly than I can. On this, I shall say that mathematics may well be what separates homo sapiens from whatever species eventually evolves beyond it. I would bet that in another millennia, we will have people for whom mathematics is as natural a language as natural language is to humans. Just as humans have evolved their brain and also their anatomy of throat and mouth such that learning (non-formally) and articulating language is instinctive, humans may evolve their brains further such that that holds for mathematics as well.

Over time, I’ve come to realize more so that mathematics is about the right mental perception. Ideally, one can see the mathematics in one’s head. Text is but a medium of transmission (with reading the fastest bandwidth in terms of information transmission to the human brain), but without a well-formed brain rational and composed, there is basically nothing one can do to genuinely absorb the truth that exists independent of one’s perception of it. It is often that one intuitively feels like one can understand certain mathematics one hears or reads, but looking more closely, one finds such is not the case, being unable to visualize it with enough clarity that one can independently explain it.

My learning of mathematics has been far from entirely smooth. I have despaired much about simply not being smart enough, especially upon seeing another seemingly effortlessly master what was utterly perplexing for me. Fortunately, that all improved over time. Though of course, as the Dunning-Kruger effect would say, the better you become the more can see your incompetence and your limitations. The experience of being able to experience the life of mind with ever more clarity, fine grain of control, and awareness has been an internally exhilarating experience.

Mathematicians are in some spiritual aristocrats, and mathematics arguably has more of an intellectual upper class air to it than any other subject. What is aristocracy? It is to many a relation by blood to those politically important or foundational. But is political power really the pinnacle of human experience? I say no, and I would say that it is the experience of the deepest scientific truths, one which requires both biological genius as well as the substantial cultural exposure that naturally comes with it, especially in today’s day and age of universal access to information. Human experience in any case hinges on consciousness, and one’s subjective conscious experience is always the product of neurons. Thus, mathematics has to it an aristocracy that no amount of money or political title or physical appearance or dress can buy; there is no royal road to mathematics, as Euclid said. So in some sense, mathematics is the greatest gift of God to a human he conceived on earth.

What are other characteristics of non-trivial engagers of mathematics that one easily associates with aristocracy? First comes to mind language and literacy. In virtually every culture, literacy was in the old days a sign of class, of privilege. In the West, it was the Catholic priests and in the East, it was the Confucian scholars. In virtually every religion or ideology or culture, the masters of that culture through literacy were highly esteemed. For example, in Jewish culture, there were the rabbis. Those with the most mastery of language where often the ones of authority, much owing to their exclusive access of certain information that facilitates political and mind control of plebs. From this, emerged learned aristocracies which developed their distinctive elite cultures, along with to some degree a distinctively evolved genetic line. These aristocrats evolved an ability to parse and memorize text far greater than the masses who had to labor in the fields. They developed and evolved a certain form of refinement and manners and self-control, as well as physical appearance, that came to be characterized as one of an aristocratic nature.

With this said, in the West, during the Renaissance and the subsequent scientific revolution, the men of science were often ones from a learned religious background of deep conviction in their religious faith who were intellectually courageous enough to go beyond it, to go about to discover scientific truth often with inspiration from the God they held deep in their hearts. They conceived of a much more rational and accurate world that turned out had been there all along without their knowing. All this eventually ushered in a new age of human history of exponential human discovery, of fundamental scientific truths, of unseen lands, of modern machines, that has culminated in the globalization we have today. All of this has much of its roots in mathematics.

To say all this would imply my yearning to become an aristocrat, which brings to another point, namely, that mathematics, while aristocratic, is more or less coldly meritocratic, and thus is aristocratic mostly in its intellectually noble content. For a brilliant kid from a poor background, mathematics is the most straightforward means of social mobility. Mathematics does not require expensive equipment or facilities or elite social connections. Provided a sufficiently high caliber mind, excelling in mathematics is relatively natural, since one can read on one’s own and solve mathematical problems on one’s own, starting with olympiad style problems at the secondary school level. Though we see plenty of mathematical families, mathematics is not grossly nepotistic as is say acting or offices of political power. In its purist essence, the culture of mathematics reveres genius from wherever he hails and despises any form of ascension based on social connections.

I have observed in those of high mathematical talent a propensity for what I would regard as refined taste in other areas as well, in music, in literature, in politics, and in aesthetics of human beauty as well. Speaking of which, math is widely considered as having the smartest people and being the most g-loaded subject (along with its nearest neighbor theoretical physics), because there is some evidential truth to that, that it is often the mathematicians who are the most versatile. Mathematicians are well known (at least to me) for their often extraordinary foreign language ability, along with what is not infrequently talent in engineering and music as well. So there really is much to suggest towards the bold hypothesis that the man of mathematics is the most ideal of man evolved on earth.

To conclude, I will note that I sincerely empathize with those who have had genuine struggles with mathematics or more extremely, who hate it, let alone appreciate it. By no means should one consider oneself as lesser if one is not good at mathematics as tempting as it may be. Though it is an intellectual pursuit achievements of which lie in the pinnacle of human civilization, there is almost no direct use in it, and the world does not need many mathematicians. In fact, there is, economically based on the very dismal job situation, quite a glut of mathematicians now, which makes it prudent for one to be discouraged from pursuing it as a career if one has not displayed extraordinary gift in the subject. Doing mathematics helps no one directly, but doing engineering or carpentry or nursing surely does, and as someone who has indulged so much in mathematics, I do feel guilty at times from my lack of contribution to the real world. Again, this is why I say that to go into mathematics, one ought to have a really good reason, part of why I have been inspired to write this post.

Jewish pro-Americanism

In America, people often bring up what they view as China’s suppression of free expression. I personally dislike strongly the usage of “free expression,” because it is meaninglessly vague. And there is no such thing as free expression in the strictest sense of it. Especially when you are in a job dealing with a boss who can fire you, which is why politics is generally supposed to be a no-no in the workplace, discussion wise. People avoid it out of prudent protection of their careers. One naturally feels at disease when what one wishes to express is such that is unwelcome or hostile in the environment of one’s residence. In such case, one feels that his or her right of free expression is being beaten down. This is very much the case in America right now, in many places.

I’ll say that overall I would feel that China is actually more free in expression overall. Go on the Chinese internet and people can discuss certain matters honestly in a manner unimaginable on the American internet. It helps much that it is for the most part a ethnically homogeneous society, unlike in America, where you have to often be very sensitive to the background of the person you’re talking to (another peril of our cherished diversity I guess). This excepts a few in some sense politically taboo topics like Tiananmen, which people with some interest in the matter might discuss say eating out, just not publicly online. There are also the other two Ts, Taiwan and Tibet. From what I know, Tibet is seldom on the minds of people in China and neither is Taiwan really. In all honestly, people in China have, for the most part, way more interesting things to think about politically than any of these three Ts.

Back to the title of this article, I would say that I am somewhat surprised and also amused at how many highly educated American Jews express openly some diehard belief in American exceptionalism, in particular its “freedom and democracy.” There are plenty of prominent Jewish voices and even actors (like Kissinger) in American foreign policy, one of whom, Amitai Etzioni, I learned about yesterday, seeing that he has written Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy and Avoiding War with China: Two Nations, One World along with many articles on mass media channels like CNN. It’s kind of funny that a guy who fought for Israel against Arabs in 1948 as a teenager (according to Wiki) has such a high position in the BS field of geopolitical strategy in America, as a director and professor in something policy at George Washington University. I won’t name more names but I’ve seen many.

This is not surprising until I think about the situation more carefully. A cynic has a every reason to view Jews in their elite to desire infinite world power and control for America, the country where they exert the most political and economic influence, which their homeland Israel depends on much. On the other hand, they know that anti-Semitism is still very real in Russia, which is not that powerful anymore. I’ll say that I listen to some Soviet songs written by very talented Jewish composers and I admire much the brilliance and work of genius Soviet scientists with Jewish blood too many to name. However, let’s just say that in the Soviet era, Soviet Jews were kept out of political and economic power and more or less confined in the arts and sciences in which they excelled. On that, I’ll say that Trotsky sure left a bad mark for Jews in the Soviet Union. The second most powerful country in the world now, China, Jews basically have zero chance in. Plus, many of them might be aware that in China, one can talk about the grossly disproportionate economic, cultural, and political power possessed by American Jews without any fear of repercussions. That is basically an openly acknowledged fact among Chinese who engage in business. So this highly talented but very small subgroup which has made so many enemies only has America and to a lesser extent its puppet Europe to cling to.

What is rather ironic is that recently, Jews have arguably contributed much to America’s decline. Let’s just say that the Iraq War (which Israel very likely supported) and the financial crisis and recession (Goldman-Sachs is run by Jews) did no good for America, weakening greatly its international position. Those might have put Jews more in favor in America in terms of their control of the economy and their political influence, but of course, that only really counts if America is actually powerful.

Don’t know for sure what Jews were thinking with all that, but if they wanted to play genuine zero-sum games for their own favor, they’d want to strengthen America as much as they can (provided they maintain reasonable level of control over it) and weaken its adversaries, where they have little chance of gaining power without bringing about a coup that replaces the regime with a pro-American one. Of course, support for Israel is always desired, but Israel too small can never sustain itself, which means leeching off America (or some other giant) is an absolute necessity. It’s fair to say that Jews have boosted America to some extent by promoting immigration of high-end talent to work for American companies, whose smart kids will also, by virtue of growing up there, become American culturally and inevitably stay there. It’s also fair to say that Jews have tried hard to bring American culture and products into the rest of the world (to further integrate the rest of world into the American-led world order) with some success. The most glaring failure there is highlighted by that the Chinese government could not be convinced to let in Google and Facebook, which has contributed to a boom of indigenous Chinese tech companies, like Baidu and Tencent. China back a few decades ago seemed puny (with very low GDP per capita and lack of many advanced technologies), but now it is, for the most part, a superpower rivaling the US. With this, China is much more confident and is seeking more create an alternative system that challenges America and thereby Jews. Jewish anti-Chinese (often disguised as anti-communism) sentiment explained. It also hurts that the position of North Korea, which Israel, which itself has nukes, views as a major threat, having survived, whereas Iraq and Libya did not, is more secure the more powerful China becomes. With this, any fantasy of Jewish-led American world domination is ever more a fantasy.

I’ve seen much contempt for China and Chinese among Jews. There are all these stereotypes that Jews are creative and Chinese are not, with Jews 625 times more likely to win a Nobel Prize than an Asian person. It is so much engrained in the culture of stereotypes that I used to sort of believe it myself. Of course, when one looks more closely, one sees that those Nobel Prizes (which may have bias towards certain groups themselves) are mostly awarded to those already in old age, which means it takes not only time but also that a place has been developed and advanced for quite a while. I was rather surprised on seeing how many Nobel Prizes have been awarded to Japanese (mostly working in Japan) in the 21st century. That rate is comparable or close to the rate at which Americans win Nobels if one excludes the BS prizes of peace, literature, and economics and immigrants. Jews can be dismissive of China’s ability to innovate and they even tie it irrelevantly to its political system, in particular its great firewall. They are contradicting themselves. Anyone in the right mind knows that the political system doesn’t affect science research at all so long as the research is adequately economically supported and not disrupted. Ask yourselves why Jews were so successful in science in the “totalitarian” Soviet Union.

I have especially seen contempt among Jews for China’s political system, which some of them see as menacing and threatening. The faked moral superiority will not fool anyone who is not delusional. Everyone acts for his own interests for some degree or another, including China, including America, including Israel, including Russia. To back off from pursuing what is best for oneself under soft pressures and political deception is nothing but a sign of weakness. Anyone strong of heart, including the genuinely loyal Chinese party members, working in all arenas, know the importance of conviction and dedication and not letting it go amidst distraction and enticement.

Anyone with the slightest of political consciousness is aware that most always extraordinary talent is not enough though surely it can overcome initial disadvantages. For instance, being born into a rich, well-educated family is always an advantage. It gives you more material resources to develop your talents and more importantly, the access to connections which often make or break careers. To study and pursue excellence is a privilege that implies that the problem of basic material necessity has already been solved. In this regard, I shall comment that Jewish preeminence in intellectual and artistic pursuits is arguably as much a product of the superior economic, cultural, and social conditions they have accumulated over the past generations as it is of their superior raw talent. It is the former that turns the latter to fruit at higher rates. There is also that Jews, with their verbal talents (and perhaps certain personality characteristics too) combined with their being part of Western culture essentially, are excessively good and willing at self-promotion, which explains why they excel more in softer fields than in hard ones. I don’t want to sound too unpleasantly incisive here, but every time a smart Jew takes a scarce opportunity or position, it deprives a talented white or Asian from developing herself, her gifts, and her career.

America has, needless to say, provided Jews with too much opportunity. It is not often that a group can obtain a disproportionate number of positions of money and power in a powerful, advanced country where they are an immigrant minority with a different culture. America has virtually handed much of itself, its vast resources, to this group, and thus, this group must put America above all, so long its control of it is maintained.

From my experience, white Americans are often too nice and too naive. They don’t know how to scheme and deceive and are often oblivious when it is done to them. America is a wealthy, resource-rich country (per capita) that has not had a war at home since 150 years ago, unlike most of the rest of the world, after all, so there is less of a need to. On the other hand, Jews, aside from having a much higher IQ, have been met with some form of persecution for centuries and even millennia as a minority within Gentile society and necessarily developed such instincts, useful in moneylending, for their own survival that eventually enabled them to dominate more and more of the upper echelons of society with their form of shrewdness. Chinese, being from a densely populated place with little arable land and mountains abound, who have for the last century dealt successfully with powerful opponents, in one case the most powerful country in the world, trying virtually everything to make their country fail, can also easily see through shenanigans. Being much better positioned economically now, Chinese are also more equipped to fight back against them when it is in their interest to do so.

When dealing with anyone or any group, always expect them to place their interests first regardless of how they appear on the surface. As a special case of that, Jewish pro-Americanism is not Jewish pro-Americanism but Jewish pro Jewish domination of a powerful America that not necessarily pro-American at heart, as evidenced by the decline of America in aggregate over the past couple decades, especially following the 2008 financial crisis.




前几天,我看了徐道辉(Steve Hsu)与美国极右派Stefan Molyneux的讨论,有了深刻的感受。可以回想到徐提到在首尔或北京,一个女人可以在半夜到街上而对安全无所担忧,在美国的大城市这是无可想象的。虽未直言,可我们都知道是因为智商与罪犯行为的反相关关系应用在智商分布稍高的东亚国家之特例。徐也说道我们都有一点尼安德特人的血统,可是其占我们整个基因组很小一部分。智人所能创造的好多是尼安德特人无能的,故逐渐后者被前者覆盖而代替。他说我们可以想象他们创造物理学家或诗人的几率会比我们小很多。徐又漏出了他直截了当,对政治正确毫无在意的幽默,说:“我觉得我不会愿我的女儿嫁给一个尼安德特人。”



徐道辉对东亚国家所做的成功的地方显然已有认识。谈到这儿,我想起我的那位俄罗斯朋友曾经还开玩笑将他叫做“你的(东)亚裔优越主义朋友”。当然,徐也提到普遍被认为的东亚的过于顺从的文化不利于出做出革命性科学贡献的孤胆怪才,甚至东亚人天生就天才性格少出的可能性。毕竟人类文明最跨越性的时代显明是西方白种人创造的,是西方人创造了文艺复兴,科学革命,工业革命,周游并且占领殖民了几乎整个寰球,而在十九世纪中旬,西方白种人与其他人几乎是人夷之别。十九世纪末期,日本人和中国人都要想西洋人学习,尤其是学习他们的先进科学和技术。在那个时候,东方人都怀疑自己脑子本质上就是不如西洋人的,此在西洋遥遥领先横扫全球的情况是所预料的自然心理反应。不过,日本以飞快的速度吸收了大多西洋科技,成了第一个非西方现代化国家,此由1905年俄日战争之胜利所标志。中国人现代化的比日本晚的多,二十世纪上半中国所处于的内忧外患以及军阀内战对此有大大阻碍,可是中国派出去的留学生在理工科学的很好,逐渐把这些更先进的知识带回了他们的祖国。中国人和日本人打进近代科学的绝对一流的成果也都是从数学然后理论物理开始的,日本是第一世界大战时的高木贞治(Teiji Takagi)然后三十年代时的汤川秀树(Hideki Yukawa),中国是二战时期左右的华罗庚和陈省身,然后五十年代的杨振宁和李政道,这些都是在最需要智商的学科,表示了东亚民族极端的科学聪明才智。之后,中国人和日本人出的这样的人越来越多,现在已到频繁,不过在最顶级比西方还是要差一点或一些,尤其是中国。所以或许还是西方人最能出最天才的种子。

我总是觉得最最聪明的人大多还是犹太人,可以说二十世纪是没有一个,至少得以广泛认可的,与John von Neumann齐智的人了。同样,即使在科学深度和眼光也是犹太人处于巅峰。但是,这一点不是完全没有异议的。我的一位非犹裔国际数学奥赛金牌白人朋友却觉得东亚人比犹太人聪明,令我吃惊。不过,或许今天在年青一代还真的是这样,以中国学生为主的东亚学生常是精英数学竞赛的佼佼者,甚至占其主部为据,加上今年也有越来越多东亚数学家做出的精彩结果,以张益唐的孪生素为代表。徐道辉也跟我说,东亚人和犹太人是两个很不同的分布,前者多广泛,后者少儿精。对此,我想到了类似的比喻,那就是犹太人如斯坦福或哈佛,而东亚人如伯克利。此人口分布之差依然会给以最精犹多之结果,在这一点,我记得一位华裔国际数学奥赛金牌曾跟我说,犹太人虽然平均更聪明,但是东亚裔可以由数量弥补,照样可以出陶哲轩或张益唐这样的人。当然,智力难以作绝对的比较,因为每个人都有他自己的风格和特点,有长有短,而我感觉东亚人与犹太人,作为集体,表现出他们才华也是各有各的“民族特色”,是上千上万年分开进化所导致的基因和文化差异的必然结果。

诸多西方右派学者会谈到当代西方劣生的趋势。在此,已逝世的加拿大心理学家Philippe Rushton曾提到黑死病大大提升欧洲人智商而促使西方和人类文明大爆发的设想,并且猜测从此,白种人一直在逐渐退化到他们所有的“自然水平”,将此事件划为一个彻底改变人类走向的大偶然,并且对东方社会,尤其是中国,具有在西方主流极少有的乐观,并早在2006年就大胆说“他们足有脑力与我们同步或比我们更高。”现在看来,他是一位极其有远见的敢于纯粹真实的挑战主流错误观点的孤胆西方心理学家。他的研究发表曾经引起过轩然大波,不过我相信历史会证明他为类似于伽利略的科学烈士。Rushton的研究既科学又透彻,将智商和性格,在种族之间,与大脑和整个身体结构提出了整体的带有生理发育和进化缘故的描述与结论。Rushton的一位同派对偶学者Richard Lynn甚至觉得东方人会是西方文明的继承人,认为中国有更先进的,更高智商性质的,可以做出更有效决定及决策的”专制“制度可促进超越似的腾飞。





My awesome roommate

I recently met this cool guy because we live in the same place. Though he’s not that nerdy (by that, I mean super mathy), we still share many common interests. For instance, he expressed interest when I told him a bit about 艾思奇(Ai Siqi). Additionally, he told me about his appreciation for André Weil and Simone Weil, particularly her mysticism, which I found quite pleasing as I was reading about them not long ago. He also told me about this guy who is trying to understand Mochizuki’s “proof” of the abc conjecture despite being not long out of undergrad, who has plenty of other quirks and eccentric behaviors. Like, that guy joined some Marxist collective, and goes on drunken rants at 3 am, and is in general “aspie af,” something that he described me as too when messaging that guy himself. There is also: “he would literally kill himself if he had to do a tech job.” (laughter) That guy’s dad happens to be a (tenured) math professor from mainland China, more evidence that madness runs in families.

The guy that is the topic of this post himself did up to high school, as far as I know, in Hong Kong, so we have some more in common than usual culturally I guess. He was just telling me about how he had read 矛盾论, which I haven’t even read, at least not in detail, myself. He was saying, on the putative connection between scientific talent and Marxism, perhaps how dialectical materialism is inherently a very scientific way of thinking. I myself know basically nothing about dialectical materialism and even think it’s kind of high verbal low math bullshit, but I can tell that the materialist side of it is very scientific in its very nature, and similarly, dialectics is a very analogies/relationships way of thinking, which is something that high IQ people are by definition good at. Surely, there is much more I can learn from this guy, especially about Chinese language and culture and politics.

On this, I am reminded of another amateur (but professional, or better, level for sure) Marxist scholar, who is genuinely encyclopedic in his historical and cultural knowledge, in particularly a perceptive quote of him that made a deep impression on me:

Europe has always been in rebellion against itself, and continues to be so.  There was nothing but futility in the attempt by superficially Westernised Chinese to be authentically Westernised Chinese by being imitative and reverential of the current embodiment of those values.  You could only be an authentically Westernised Chinese by being a rebel against the current embodiments of Western values, at least in as far as they hampered China or seemed to be irrelevant.  And that’s why Mao was China’s best Westerniser to date, despite his very limited experience of the mundanities of Western life.

As I’ll detail in a future article, visitors to the Chinese Communist bases at Bao’an and later Yen’an noticed that these were the only Chinese in China who behaved more or less as Westerners would have behaved in a similar situation.  Other Chinese might speak good English, wear Western suits and sometimes show considerable knowledge of Western culture: but it was all imitation and the inner core was different and ineffective.  Western-trained engineers and geologists who returned to China kept their distance from hands-on practical work, because anything resembling manual labour would have lost them status in the eyes of Chinese intellectuals.  They were imprisoned by a tradition stretching back to Confucius and beyond.  Only a few broke these ancient taboos, mostly the Communists and some scattered left-wingers in the weak middle ground.  And it was the modernised Chinese in the Communist Party who chose to raise up Mao as the prime teacher of this new understanding.

I remember when my obsessively talented Russian friend once said to me that sometimes he feels like he’s another Pavel Korchagin, I thought he was ridiculous. Well, I’ll be equally ridiculous and say that I feel like I very much exhibit what Gwydion described in Mao that is “authentically Westernized Chinese,” which is very much the antithesis of what I see in most ABCs, despite being half an ABC myself.

If only more people could be like me…


Oleg is one of my ubermensch Soviet (and also part Jewish) friends. He has placed at (or at least near) the top on the most elite of math contests. He is now a math PhD student with an advisor even crazier than he is, who he says sometimes makes him feel bad, because he has done too little math research wise. However, this persona alone is not that rare. Oleg’s sheer impressiveness largely stems from that on top of this, he is a terrific athlete, extremely buff and coordinated, enough that he can do handstand pushups, to the extent that he regards such as routine. Yes, it is routine for a guy contending for a spot on a legit gymnastics team, but you wouldn’t expect this from a math nerd huh?

Today, I was talking to him and some others about gym. In particular, I was saying how I could at one point do 10 pullups but dropped down to 2 after a long hiatus. The conversation went as follows:

Me: Oleg I’m back to 5 pull-ups now
Oleg: that’s good although make sure you’re doing them for real
i still don’t believe you could do 10 but then dropped down to 2
Me: Oh I’m very sure they’re full pullups
Okay maybe it was 8
Oleg: i’d like to see evidence
Me: Alright I’ll have someone videotape me do pullups today in gym

And so I did.

Later, Oleg suggested something pretty funny:

i still think you should get tattoos and gain 25 lb of muscle, that would be hilarious
then walk up to girls and ask about their SAT scores
and say “oh, that’s too low, i don’t want to breed babies with you”
followed by a cackle
i’d watch that show

Not surprisingly, Oleg, as buff as he is, has had some success with girls, though he regards himself as shy and struggling in that regard. I keep telling him that he needs to marry a girl who’s both super smart and attractive like he is, so that he can optimize his chance of making superhuman babies. His only disadvantage now is that he’s a poor math PhD student, but he can easily change that by, say, joining DE Shaw, from what I’ve read is full of uber nerdy macho Eastern European men. He’s not very interested in money though, and expresses content with his graduate student stipend, which I find laughable.

I find it regrettable that most ubermensch men smart enough for legit doctoral programs in math and physics are unable to find a mate who is commensurate with them, ability wise, even with some adjustments, even when they’re well-rounded like Oleg is. Why is this? Excessive Aspergers? On that, I know someone who will say along the lines of

in an actual long-term relationship you have to share most of your life with the person, and if they don’t understand the way you look at the world then it creates friction
sure, the girl doesn’t need to understand high energy physics, I have other friends for that

Maybe some females could give us some advice, other than the cliche “hit the gym” that you’ll often hear from males. Such would be much appreciated! 😉


昨天在网上碰到了一个有趣的视频,标题为“My Life, My China – I am a Communist Party member 被打上标签的人”。此内容我就不在这里谈了,读者可以自己看此十分钟以下的视频。里面人所表达的想法和个人经历给我留下了深刻的感受,也在我心目中启发了一定的反思。