Chris Langan: Extraordinary Man Living Life On His Own Terms

Luther said:
I've read a book called 'outliers' which focused on Chris for one chapter. Basically the book is about extraordinary people and what factors actually vault a person to success. The author strongly argues that's it's nurture, and not nature, which dictates how succeful a person will be. And in Chris's case, he had a fucked up background which contributed to him being a loner. If I remember correctly the last words of the chapter were... 'and nobody makes it alone.'

Interesting book by Malcom Gladwell.

Malcolm Gladwell is an intellectual fraud. He's quite typical of the NYT bestselling authors who propose simple social psychology explanations that don't actually hold up when examined further.

The reason his books sell is that (again like many NYT bestsellers) he implicitly promises that ANYONE can be anything they want, as long as you have the right tools, mindset, approach, trick, etc. This dude has caused quite a bit of damage popularizing poor ideas like his 10,000 hours practice idea, when in reality it only applies to people who are already exceptionally talented, are doing a very specific task (e.g. playing an instrument or Olympic level swimming) and the 10,000 hours is deliberate practice - meaning focusing on only challenging yourself to the next level (e.g. with music, attempting a slightly harder piece than you can play). That doesn't mean that practice won't make you better, but it's not like anyone can become a rock star in his chosen field as long as they put the time into it - which is the lie Gladwell implicitly sells.

In terms of success, the biggest predictor is in fact nature - IQ is the best-correlated factor, with a correlation of 0.65.* The next best predictor is conscientiousness, which again has a strong genetic component. The correlation with conscientiousness is 0.1.

If Gladwell took these two traits into account, it would most likely explain every single one of his outliers. The nurture component only comes into place when the person already has the right traits. What do I mean?

Put someone like Gates in his childhood upbringing (with access to a computer at his elite high school) and you get Microsoft.
Put someone with an IQ below 85 in the same upbringing and you most likely get a felon.

This is why I don't like reading (auto)biographies. Or at least I don't like recommending them to the average college kid. There are some things you can learn from biographies such as the value of tenacity in the face of terrible luck (for which, QC's work may be the best in the business), but I feel too many people focus on trying to emulate the same type of result instead of the process. I wonder how many kids read Elon Musk's biography, hoping to make the next Tesla, not realizing they're 20 IQ points too dumb to ever get there.

I'm not trying to be cynical here - I just get the impression that books like Gladwell's give people way too much false hope. In the same vein of the vile Anne-Marie Slaughter, who promised countless women they could have it all. Only to finally admit that only very few women actually can. How many cat ladies did she not create?

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/07/why-women-still-cant-have-it-all/309020/

Without the nature component, the nurture component is useless. It's a deeply uncomfortable truth, especially in the US - where a 'you can be anything' attitude goes.

* In terms of IQ, I do believe there is an inversed-U relationship. Yes, it's strongly correlated to success, but only up to a point. Go too high (past 140 maybe) and your success starts dropping unless the perfectly right nurture component is there.

--------------------------

In terms of background, I'm ambivalent to how much effect it has. Take, for example, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber - who reportedly had an IQ of 168, and became the youngest tenured professor at UC Berkely. In terms of background, he might have hit the lottery - good, smart parents, was able to attend Harvard at the age of 16 and a bright career in mathematics - perhaps the best-suited career for guys with such high quantitative IQs. Yet he still went off the rails, lived secluded in the forest and was bombing people.

Again, it's my hypothesis once you pass a certain IQ threshold you can't function normally in society anymore. Like living amongst cows, you'd probably lose your sanity.
 

Beyond Borders

Peacock
Gold Member
It's a testament to how dumbed down the world is in comparison to this guy when the big focus of the video is the numerical value of his IQ and the surprising (if you've spent your life behind a TV screen) details of his background, as if the reporters are writing a gossip column for a high school newspaper...when you'd think the real story here would be that "the most intelligent man on the planet believes in intelligent design."

Certainly having a 200 IQ doesn't make his assumption correct, but I'd say his reasoning would at least merit discussion, yet the video just giggles on about the trivia instead. How original. Not their fault audiences are so shallow but it was still pretty damn ironic.

I've seen various stories on this guy over the years, and it's always the same basic coverage, and I have to say I'd probably move out in the middle of nowhere to hide too if dorky reporters were coming up to me over and over and over throughout the years to cover the same exact talking points that everybody already knows, like that I (chuckle chuckle hehe) am also a tough guy who can use his hands and spent years working as a bouncer.

You could even see his wife was bored out by the dorky smirking and giggling about their intelligence. They must bump into some truly obnoxious conversations when they are recognized in public.

Overall seems like a cool guy, though. Damn well rounded for someone that smart. You'd think he could leverage that intelligence into something more, but as others have pointed out, life's a tad more complicated than that, and the man is welcome to his own priorities as far as I'm concerned.

And let's not forget some geniuses have come to deeply regret the things society has done with their inventions, or to them for that matter, so owing something to society is not one I think I'd personally lay on the man's table.
 

Fortis

Crow
Gold Member
Genghis Khan said:

:mindblown:

Thanks for writing this post!

I do want to say one thing, I am not being contrarian because I don't like the guy, but I just really dig these sorts of discussions, so I hope I'm not coming across as overly argumentative for no reason.

I am inclined to agree that mega high IQs are probably dysgenic, I was actually pondering this the other day. The smartest guy I know is probably the least "motivated" guy in many ways because he does not engage with reality all that much. He is a chemist. He goes to work and does pretty well for himself but everyone in his family resents him because his verbal and mathematical intelligence is off the charts but the second they mention "business" or "PHD routes" he's like "pffft."

Great point on CRISPR and I was considering this as well. I live in China and while the population is high IQ, the sad thing is that you meet some of these ridiculously bright programmer types but you're pretty much certain they're going down the path of the MGTOW/Incel because of their peculiar tendencies that might auto-select them out of the gene pool. Now, take the entire population, throw another 10-20 points on top of that and you might fuck everything up.
 
Fortis said:
Genghis Khan said:

:mindblown:

Thanks for writing this post!

I do want to say one thing, I am not being contrarian because I don't like the guy, but I just really dig these sorts of discussions, so I hope I'm not coming across as overly argumentative for no reason.

I am inclined to agree that mega high IQs are probably dysgenic, I was actually pondering this the other day. The smartest guy I know is probably the least "motivated" guy in many ways because he does not engage with reality all that much. He is a chemist. He goes to work and does pretty well for himself but everyone in his family resents him because his verbal and mathematical intelligence is off the charts but the second they mention "business" or "PHD routes" he's like "pffft."

Great point on CRISPR and I was considering this as well. I live in China and while the population is high IQ, the sad thing is that you meet some of these ridiculously bright programmer types but you're pretty much certain they're going down the path of the MGTOW/Incel because of their peculiar tendencies that might auto-select them out of the gene pool. Now, take the entire population, throw another 10-20 points on top of that and you might fuck everything up.

No problem dude, this is why I love RVF and keep coming back. It's one of the rare places we can have great conversations like this.
 

Fortis

Crow
Gold Member
Genghis Khan said:
This is why I don't like reading (auto)biographies. Or at least I don't like recommending them to the average college kid. There are some things you can learn from biographies such as the value of tenacity in the face of terrible luck (for which, QC's work may be the best in the business), but I feel too many people focus on trying to emulate the same type of result instead of the process. I wonder how many kids read Elon Musk's biography, hoping to make the next Tesla, not realizing they're 20 IQ points too dumb to ever get there.

Tangential but I agree. I often find that people don't contextualize these people. Like you read about how Zuckerberg was designing video games when other kids were playing them. There are some people you should not try to emulate, especially technocrats and other people who are literally so beyond you in terms of processing speed and raw talent.

also, thanks for the reminder to snap up some QC materials.
 
I'm still a little confused as to what we're all judging the guy for. I read some of his theory, and it doesn't feel like he's screwing around with it. He's quite serious about the intellectual problems he's grappling with, it's not an idle dilettante sort of affair. I think he's making more assumptions than are warranted, and I'm not sure I believe a word he says, but I know for a fact that he's quite serious about it.

A theory of everything like the one he's working on has been the dream of intellectuals for ages. If he pulls off what he's attempting to do, he'll be the greatest philosopher in the history of mankind. Humanity's relationship to the universe, the way we see ourselves and the way we see everything around us, will be forever changed. Plato, Aristotle, and Neitzche will all be footnotes compared to the magnitude of what he'll have achieved.

Did you notice that all his jobs: bouncer, farmhand, forest service ranger, etc. are jobs that require very little interaction with others and give you lots of time to think? He's not slacking off in minimum wage jobs because he doesn't want to work, he's living far below his earning potential in order to find ways to pursue the greatest mysteries life has to offer.

I have tremendous respect for this man.
 

CaptainS

Hummingbird
If he actually develops a theory of everything, he'll be considered the greatest mind in history. If not, he'll be another highly intelligent man who lived life on his own terms but achieved relatively little.

Dude is swinging for the fences. He'll either be a hero or forgotten.
 
SamuelBRoberts said:
I'm still a little confused as to what we're all judging the guy for. I read some of his theory, and it doesn't feel like he's screwing around with it. He's quite serious about the intellectual problems he's grappling with, it's not an idle dilettante sort of affair. I think he's making more assumptions than are warranted, and I'm not sure I believe a word he says, but I know for a fact that he's quite serious about it.

It's probably just a question of personal preference/values. There's something to be said about being a man of action over a man of thought. Both have their place in the world, but I see where some posters come from.

A theory of everything like the one he's working on has been the dream of intellectuals for ages. If he pulls off what he's attempting to do, he'll be the greatest philosopher in the history of mankind. Humanity's relationship to the universe, the way we see ourselves and the way we see everything around us, will be forever changed. Plato, Aristotle, and Neitzche will all be footnotes compared to the magnitude of what he'll have achieved.

Just to play devil's advocate - if he really does have such a theory, who would be able to understand it? If you take the 30 IQ points gap problem, and if his theory is at a 200 IQ level, that would mean only people with an IQ of 170+ would understand it.

Even RVF's current darling, Jordan B Peterson (whom I'm a fan of btw) - with an IQ of 155 - wouldn't understand it. Neither would Vox Day, with his supposed 165 IQ. Or really anyone on RVF (unless we've got some 170+ people around).

More likely is the case that he eventually publishes his work, a few of the 170+ might get it. But just barely, with a lot of the nuance going over their head. Then the 170 IQ guys in their valiant, yet ultimately failing effort to explain the 200IQ theory would dumb it down for the 140 IQ guys. By then, it may not be as impressive anymore.

Or more realistically, it may just come across as the ramblings of a lunatic. As BB pointed out, apparently the guy believes in intelligent design. He might have extremely good reasons. Shit, maybe he's realized some fundamental flaw as to why evolution/Darwinism can't be possible. But I highly doubt any of us would ever understand it.

Just as a real example vis-a-vis an IQ of ~170 and the average college alum, I've read Ted Kaczynski's work. I understood what he was saying the first time. I can even understand the mindset he had when he went on his bombing spree (not that I condone killings). But to even relatively smart college-educated people, he comes across as absolutely bonkers - it's not the killings, but even his criticism of technology seems nuts to a lot of people. That's how this man with an IQ of 200 would come across to us.

You guys ever wonder why it's just the philosophical books that have survived over the ages (whether they're of religious context such as the Bible or more down to point like the Stoics). It's because only people with a philosophical bent - such as monks - bother to copy and perpetuate them.

The fact dudes with IQs in the 120-160 range (probably the target range for philosophy enthusiasts) can understand Plato, Aristotle and Nietzsche are why their works have survived. This guy would probably be forgotten very fast as no-one would get what he's trying to say. He wouldn't even be a footnote.

Tangentially, what if ultimate theories of reality already exist. I've been digging deep into Hindu philosophy - there's a lot there that's been dumbed down tremendously, but it has a very rich and complex cosmology behind it. As there have been approximately 100 billion people in existence, it's not inconceivable to me that either in ancient India (which had a strong philosophical tradition) or somewhere else, another man with an IQ of 200 realized an ultimate theory. Ha, perhaps a lot of religions are simply the dumbing down of the thoughts of people beyond our intellect.

I wonder if this guy has looked into perennial philosophy, especially the tradionalist school - he might find that perhaps he's attempting to reinvent the wheel:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy

Did you notice that all his jobs: bouncer, farmhand, forest service ranger, etc. are jobs that require very little interaction with others and give you lots of time to think? He's not slacking off in minimum wage jobs because he doesn't want to work, he's living far below his earning potential in order to find ways to pursue the greatest mysteries life has to offer.

I always thought bouncer was a pretty people interaction intensive job? But yeah, he's definitely consistently picked cognitively boring jobs. Einstein did the same as a patent clerk so he could think constantly on the job about light and relativity.

But that said, I'm very much of the opinion that we all have our own paths in life. In Hinduism, it's called dharma. We all have their own dharma - our duty. His dharma (perhaps solely due to his insanely high IQ) may be to create such an amazing theory of reality that only 3 other people in the world truly understand it. If so, so be it. I won't hate on a man for following his path, even if there are no fruits of his labor.
 

Mage

 
I think this man is doing the right thing living life as he sees fit and not trying to achieve something defined by standards of society that is much dumber then him. He is a successful guy - doing what he likes, owning a property close to nature, breathing clean air and being free from stresses of city life. He obviously can support himself with whatever he chooses to do. He is not a virgin and has a wife, maybe not the most attractive woman but obviously intellectual compatibility is more important to him. He is red pilled on politics. And he is working on his theory, probably something most people cannot appreciate yet, but maybe someday it will change the world for better. That is more then most men achieve in life, probably even more then most men on this forum. So I can only applaud this man.

I see people hating this man as jocks hating nerds for being smarter then jocks. He had to deal with such people all his life so he had to struggle uphill in some sense. Stupid people tend to resent smart people all the time, that is why Marxism is so popular despite being so stupid. The one's crying out the loudest that he has to give something to society and earn big money are also the ones most likely to bully this man for saying something they don't understand. No wonder he wants some solitude. Maybe the society doesn't even deserve his potential gifts. Maybe he could give more to this world - but the world made it clear to him that it doesn't want his help.
 

Rush87

Hummingbird
SamuelBRoberts said:
A theory of everything like the one he's working on has been the dream of intellectuals for ages. If he pulls off what he's attempting to do, he'll be the greatest philosopher in the history of mankind. Humanity's relationship to the universe, the way we see ourselves and the way we see everything around us, will be forever changed. Plato, Aristotle, and Neitzche will all be footnotes compared to the magnitude of what he'll have achieved.

A big thing I've noticed about highly intelligent people, is that the higher up the scale they tend to run, apathy seems to increase towards a range of endeavours with which others would deem 'great accomplishments'.

Essentially, they start to see things for what they really are, often times understanding that most accomplishments in life are largely inconsequential. You can surely argue against that [As I would] otherwise I'd be promoting an existence of futility, but I can see why outside of this burning question, nothing else may interest him.

The other thing I would add is that he is likely always working, always thinking. Personally, I would be almost retard level in comparison, and yet I'm constantly running theories 24/7 in my head. I can't imagine how much his mind is racing. I assume he needs the tranquility of the farm to keep him sane.
 
Fortis said:
It is interesting but I do wonder if he is literally a victim of his own intelligence. If he really does have an IQ of 200 he seems.......sorta......mediocre. That is not to judge the man, but like whenever someone focuses on someone's super high IQ we expect matching achievements. Instead, he's just putzing around on some land with his wife in middle age. He traded one grind for another.

That said, I do respect him for being a humble, down-to-earth guy. I imagine you could talk to him, no matter what your IQ is, and you'd probably learn something. He seems like a good guy.

I do think that if you've got a gift that powerful you CAN squander it and he might be squandering it.

That's very common among individuals of high intelligence. They struggle to fit in a world designed and populated by their intellectual inferiors. It's like Planet of the Apes to them. Things that may mean success to common people may seem frivolous to them.

And, you know, maybe he likes living in a farm.
 

not-a-pua

Woodpecker
To understand Langan, imagine yourself trying to talk to herd of Chimpanzees.

Very lonely guy. And a shame his potential is not fully utilized in a university. They rather hire five more people on a diversity quota.
 

Nordwand

Kingfisher
Don't know how true this is, but apparently when Ted Kaczynski presented his PhD thesis, the response from the grading panel was that, whilst they appreciated it's brilliance, they didn't actually understand it, and that there would be very few people indeed who actually did.
 

Mage

 
I watched the three part documentary about this guy. Actually I am a bit disappointed about that documentary. And also about the discussion on this forum. People talking mainly about his personality all the time, while the guy is developing a universal theory about life and universe. I would like to learn more about that theory instead and discuss that. Instead what most people actually worry about is: "Is his intelligence a threat to me in competition over pussy or not?".

As the saying goes:
Dumb people discuss personalities.
Casual people discuss events.
Smart people discuss ideas.

I am myself spending a lot of time thinking about meaning of life, existence of God, nature of God, purpose of existence, ultimate fate of individual perception, fate of humanity, fate of universe ad similar topics. I myself have some quite complicated and empirically proved theories about that, that I use to make decisions in my life. I would really like to learn more what the smartest person in the world has to say about that, does his conclusions go together with mine? Conclusions of an extremely smart person could be one gateway closer to truth.

The main question I would like to have answered trough observing this guy is this - is intelligence the highest form of inquiry about universe there is? Can a highly intelligent person still come to horrible ideas by being blind to spiritual realities? Is spirituality just a particular form of intelligence when dealing with the unknown or is it a separate and higher neural or meta-neural pathway of experience and knowledge? The guy really peeked my interest.

On one hand he is thinking about God and even life after death, which is affirming a theist identity as a consequence of a higher intellect, suggesting that atheist argument of intelligence disproving God is only true for minds slightly above average, but really high intelligence can piece together the image of God to some degree.

On other hand he sounds a bit too dangerously like a sympathizer of a Platonian dictatorship of reason and eugenics and too much relying on the mechanical conclusions and we all know to what disasters past regimes relying on total centralized leadership lead to. I really would like to hear more from him about that.
 

AnonymousBosch

Crow
Gold Member
This will be a ramble, so I'll apologise in advance as I can see even QC doesn't understand my current life choices.

Quintus Curtius said:
1. Intelligence alone is no indicator of achievement in life. Genius and energy is one thing; application and discipline are something else.

What is 'achievement'? What is 'glory'? Is it social-based accomplishments that give you the illusion of higher status than others around you. Danse macabre, mate.

On the other hand, a man needs to do something productive with his life.

Again, what is 'productive'? How can it be measured? Is it even visible to others? Is it what the majority feel counts as the sign of a productive life? By the praise of others, or the gathering of sycophantic hangers-on, both of which are fleeting and conditional? By accumulating useless pretty things, your ability of which to accrue supposedly grant a measurement of worth to your existence?

Who did you ignore to achieve? What connection did you not make? Who did you fail to notice needed your distracted heart?

I don't think a timid retreat into the wilderness is becoming a man of action.

I find great peace in stillness, more peace and satisfaction than in any of my life's 'superficial' achievements that might impress others, none of which were really that hard beyond putting in regular work. The quieter I am, the more distractions are lessened, and the less I need to prove myself to the world, so the closer I feel to God.

I've been battling some serious personal issues over the last six weeks, which is why I've fallen behind in my communication. When things were at their darkest, I looked up at ridge overlooking my property and decided I'd hike to the top, even if it killed me. I even took my guitar, which I haven't played for about two years, a lifetime for a guy who has never stopped writing songs from the time he was 12 until October 2015.

At the top, I came across a huge flat rock, sheltered by a thicket hedge of what I initially thought were flowering plums, due to the snowdusting of tiny flowering petals along ever branch. On closer inspection, I recognised it as young Walnut Trees.

I sat on the rock, felt the light breeze on my face, and looked out over the great expanse of the valley. Every few seconds, a petal or two would drift down past me. I could see the home I'm working to build, and imagine it taking greater shape.

In that stillness, I played the guitar, initially scared my fingers wouldn't co-operate.

They did.

I've played on stage for a few thousand people. It never reached the transcendental beauty of playing on that rock, for no-one but myself and God.

Again, what exactly is 'glory', when any earthly achievement I could aim for is humbled by the quiet beauty of moments like that?

I remember a female singer I knew telling me that singing was more of a 'higher plane' experience for her than sex.

My response was glib. "... and you can do both in the shower!", which made her laugh. But I understood how easy her happiness was for her to achieve, and she was one of the most pleasant, radiant women I've ever met.
Now, imagine another girl attempting to seek transcendence through sex...

So, given that I've been facing something that would have beaten a lesser man, why am I relatively-happy and able to find peace in stillness and forced downtime, when so many around me miserable? Why haven't I turned to drugs, alcohol or gambling like so many I know? Whilst I've had a large amount of sex, it's always been a positive experience for both parties and a sharing of intimacy, so I don't feel the coldness and emptiness in the act others speak of.

However, the Driven around me are ravenous with the desperate need to matter when all become dust; endlessly-hunger for love that to amount of praise or intimacy can satiate; work tirelessly in hours misery to accumulate things that are transitory; scheme malevolently to be able to lord over others or to jostle to be that tiny step higher up the ladder; to take empty pride over the notches in the bedpost, the amount of likes on their social media post, or the trophies on their shelf.

I observe all, and nothing fills the void for people. I've seen people will all the popularity and money in the world spike a vein a nod off. People with letters after their name who opened them out of loneliness and depression, bleeding out, their works forgotten. People who reached the highest office in the land only to use that power to regularly-order up young American Boys from a brothel in Fyshwick, of whom it was assumed they would be too politically-ignorant to recognise them. Great sportsman who drunk and fucked to excess to block out the pain of the toll it had taken on their bodies.

What is the human cost of a man achieving greatness? How many have to die in a person's quest to finally satisfy themselves that they are powerful?

The fear of mattering is destructive. What drives the Feminist? Harvey Weinstein? Hillary Clinton? Hitler? Thomas More? Einstein? Marx
The men of the Manhattan Project? Trump? What constitutes Social Good? What is owed by a person to society? Is every idea an intelligent person holds a Just one? I guarantee the EU Heads truly believe their cause is righteous just as much as a Silicon Valley nerd thinks Transhumanism will benefit society.

Fortis mentions he'd respect Langan if he offered his descendants great wealth, where my repeated experience with the children of the wealthy is that they're highly-damaged: emotionally, sexually and morally. They're the Commies, Genderfluids and Drug-users.

Man was made to wrestle with problems, to confront obstacles, and to overcome barriers.

I have absolute-surety by now the battle of life is internal, not external. The world is the world. Your soul is your soul. Only one is in your power to repair.

Fortis suggests the Highly-Intelligent, (and I say I am highly-intelligent as a statement of fact, not a boast or a inflated-value judgement), owe society something for being granted intelligence.

This falsely assumes society will willingly-listen to higher wisdom, and genuinely-wants their behaviour directed without demanding their own will triumphs above all. I mean...

JesusOnCross_01.jpg


I can identify the key psychological issues damaging people's lives and driving their behaviour very quickly when I spent time around them. Now, whilst some people will ask for help, they very-rarely will act on it. Most often, they just want to complain for the sake of complaint, and their free will generally triumphs.

I've spoken in the past about dating the oldest of three sisters in High School. The three of them were locked in an vicious battle for their Ice Queen mother's approval, tilting at windmills, since the middle child was the prettiest and most accomplished, (and these were all accomplished women), and the Mother favoured her.

I can't begin to describe the psychological darkness I observed taking place over the nine months I dated the eldest. Every conversation was, functionally, about wounding each other in their mother's eyes. I know, I know... If women ran the world....

Sometimes it was incredibly-petty. I turned up one Saturday to find the oldest and the youngest rolling their eyes at some pictures half-hanging out of a the little envelopes physical film would be put in after processing.

"She went on and on last night about how the Limp Noodle [her boyfriend, so named after a page in her diary of her trying and failing to give him a handjob in the back pew of a church] took 'beautiful pictures' of her around town and Mum and her oohed and ahhed over them for about an hour last night," the youngest explained.

My girlfriend sneered audibly. She left them here, half on display, because, of course, we'd have nothing better to do than to look at stupid pictures."

"... and they're so false!" the youngest said. "She's trying to look natural and casual in artsy black and white and they look fake as."

"...so staged."

... which is every female profile picture ever taken, really.

The youngest was really riled. "I mean, she just left them here when she left for the day, tempting us to draw glasses, buck teeth and a mustache on every one."

"... so," my girlfriend continued. "We're trying to figure out the best way to fuck with them."

I flicked quickly through the pictures as the youngest groaned. "I hate that one. It so 'oh don't take my photo i'm so bashful'. Like she didn't order the Limp Noodle to do it."

Realising they'd otherwise be in a foul mood for the entire day over this, and having inherited my Dad's ability to always go that little bit further with practical jokes, I said "I know where all these places are. If you want to fuck with her, let's parody the pictures."

As a would-be photographer, I was always looking for any excuse to take pictures, and the challenge of matching the framing interested me. However, both their eyes lit up: you'll always win a girl other by suggesting causing trouble.

The youngest jumped out of her seat. "I brought her shirt in from the line last night."

My girlfriend was already following her up. "Her hairclip is on the bathroom sink."

"She's holding a hairbrush in this photo," I said, flashing it as they headed out of the room. "Grab it too."

We spent a couple of hours driving around town to the locations, each of them swapping the shirt and taking turns parodying their sister, matching clothes, poses and expressions, but taking the piss ever just so, then dropped it into the 1-hour processing service. Pictures in hand, we were all impressed at just how well we'd matched the originals, so simply removed the entire set of originals from her sisters envelope and replaced the lot, in the same order.

That night, their sister returned. The youngest had predicted the first thing she'd do was 'go look at herself again', so, everyone pretending not to be watching her, everyone watched as she opened the envelope, looked at the first few pictures, then shuffled them back and really looked at them.

She put them back in the parcel, looked up, and said, deadpan. "God you two are bitches."

Later the pair of them agreed that although it took hours, the reaction was worth it. Myself? I saw myself as channeling their negative emotions into a controllable reaction.

See the jostling? Trying to matter more than someone they despised?

I'd still visit years after we broke up. This never stopped. Sometimes it was much more vicious, and didn't even abate after the middle child had left for University.

I turned up once to find the Sisters discussing a glossy portrait of the Middle Sister and the Limp Noodle dressed up in a park holding a half-rolled up piece of parchment. I barely glanced at it, but the pair of them were seething over it.

"Mum loves it, and said it was such a beautiful picture she just had to get it framed, and now we have to look at it every time we come inside."

"What was it for?" I asked, as I sat down.

"She won some award at Uni, so they gave her a ceremony."

"Huh," I said, as I sat down. "It looked too formal for that. Something's off." I'd only seen it for a second or two, but the story didn't ring right.

My ex understood my casual observational powers by now to immediately press me for what I had noticed without consciously-noticing.

"It's a public park, not a University Hall. They're too dressed up for that kind of daytime event. Limp Noodle is clinging to her for dear life like she's finally deemed him acceptable, she's subtly-leaning away. So, that thing in her hand would be a Marriage Certificate."

"Oh," my ex said. "She wouldn't dare..."

But, like I said, she knew me by now. She leapt up and pulled the picture down from the wall and laid it on the kitchen table, both of them trying to see.

"There's a magnifying glass near Mum's sewing machine!"

A minute later, they used it, and they saw I was right, as, greatly-magnified, the heading was clearly-visible.

Both of them looked at each other. After years of fighting, they finally had something on Little Miss Perfect that they believed could destroy her in her Mother's eyes.

I knew it was pointless, because her Mother simply favoured the middle child the best. I'd even told my ex-girlfriend this years before. "It's not fair and it sucks and it's not something a parent should do, but your mother simply loves her more. You can accept this and stop letting that hurt control you and find out who you can be without that baggage, or you can keep at this Sisyphean task." (She'd understand the reference. Her parents were Oxfordian Ancient History Majors - she was almost named Clytemnestra).

Of course, girls don't like hearing brutal truth, so you can guess how well that went down, hence the breakup.

But, man, the look in the eyes of those two girls at that moment, when they realised they had her. The lust for power, for love, to be on top, to matter. Those instincts revealed in such a naked, voracious form visibly don't serve the light.

It turned out they married each other for convenience, as it increased their Ausstudy payments. It also didn't stop the mother favouring her the best, she said it was 'a practical financial decision'.

I had dinner with the family last year, when my Ex was back in the country. It's 25 plus years later, and now the three of them are competing via their children. Still fighting a war that will never be won. Wasting their lives on what, realistically, is pointless.

Extrapolate this drive and obsession outwards into other areas.

I recognise money is a superficial comfort that can be withdrawn at any moment. So is fame. So is power. I could work for years as an intelligent man to, say, invent rediscover Penicillin, only for another group of intelligent men to encourage destructive, disease-ridden lifestyles that will burn through the various types enough that eventually render them useless.

Social Justice is as pointless a boulder to push as is Utopia as is Nationalism. You can conquer continents but all empires crumble. All returns to dust.

What use is intelligence, or accomplishment, really, in a Post Objective Reality Society? Why do we need to make any mark when it makes most miserable?

And this is the commonality of every 'Great' intelligence I've personally met. We all eventually withdraw with the realisation of the importance of understanding humility, because it tempers the real danger of intellectual arrogance and the inhumanity it can lead to. Truth, beauty and love, man.

Flash back roughly 100 years. William James Sidis was a genius who was despised by the press for failing to live up to his potential to 'better humanity'. Like Langan or myself, he'd take menial jobs far below his educational standards, and find satisfaction in the physical work and greater connection to nature.

After his death they'd discovered he'd privately-formulated the existence of black holes. He also wrote of his interest in the spiritual beliefs of the Native Indian, and followed the philosophy of a particular tribe:

"One's contribution to society should be anonymous".

This reminds me of something else:

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. Truly I tell you, they already have their reward. But when you pray, go into your inner room, shut your door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Perhaps our symphonies should be private ones?

One last thought: a while back a friend shared a clip from 'the Exorcist' of two dogs fighting under the gaze of the Demonic Statue, and noted to me the resemblance to the current political climate.

A girlfriend pointed me towards a book she loved on near death experiences, and I read this description yesterday, that reflected that realisation.

The man having the experience had left his body and ended up in a dark, hellish place, until he prayed to Jesus to come and save him. Jesus took him upwards, back to earth, and showed him the lost souls wandering around, described as 'People permanently invisible to the living, yet permanently wrapped up in their affairs'.

Later, he's taken to plains far from the cities, where 'Hordes of discarnate people' are jammed together.

"Lord Jesus!" I cried. "Where are we?"

At first I thought we were looking at some great battlefield: everywhere people were locked in what looked like fights to the death, writhing, punching, gouging... They could not kill, though they clearly wanted to, because their intended victims were already dead... These creatures seemed locked into habits of mind and emotion, into hatred, lust, destructive thought patterns.

Even more hideous than the bites and kicks they exchanged were the sexual abuses many were performing in feverish pantomime... and the thoughts most frequently communicated had to do with the superior knowledge, or abilities, or background of the thinker. "I told you so!" "I always knew!" "Didn't I warn you!" were shrieked into the echoing air over and over... In these yelps of envy and wounded self-importance I heard myself all too well.

I too heard myself all too well. Hell, that describes most of Social Media, which is why I eventually found it pointless and, as my sister described it, "a window to negativity".

I've spent my late thirties and forties tempering these instincts in myself. With disconnection from the wider world, I have found closer connection with those around me, and my life is more satisfactory for it, because, well, love really is all.

This is why withdrawal from the self-inflicted misery society wallows in makes spiritual and emotional sense to a highly-intelligent man.

Everything else? How can I make this understandable? There's an observable pattern to everything, to a degree that speaks of intentional and darkly-humorous design, but making other people understand this seems impossible for me. Here's one example, simplified as much as I possibly can.

Work steadily towards a desired goal based upon your own Free Will and you'll eventually get exactly what you thought you always wanted. That's when you'll discover it's never what you actually need.
 

Hypno

Crow
Genghis Khan said:
Tangentially, what if ultimate theories of reality already exist. I've been digging deep into Hindu philosophy - there's a lot there that's been dumbed down tremendously, but it has a very rich and complex cosmology behind it. As there have been approximately 100 billion people in existence, it's not inconceivable to me that either in ancient India (which had a strong philosophical tradition) or somewhere else, another man with an IQ of 200 realized an ultimate theory. Ha, perhaps a lot of religions are simply the dumbing down of the thoughts of people beyond our intellect.

Interesting post. Curiously, a lot of the UFO folks, especially those who believe in remove viewing, reach a similar conclusion. Not saying I endorse their view, but they reach the same point, basically all there is love. Sound familiar?
 

Tengen

Kingfisher
Gold Member
I was going to say that this is how I imagine AB lives, but now he's gone ahead and posted here. Straight from the horse's mouth,
 
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