Do certain people exist to be ruled?


I just finished binging Bojack Horseman season
5, a show that deals extensively with the intersection between a person’s inner life
and their actions. A look into a character’s inner world is
what can turn a predatory, alcoholic, asshole into a somewhat sympathetic predatory, alcoholic,
asshole. [BOJACK INNER NARRATIVE] It
really makes you question if we have the power to really change, or if we’re more of victim
to automated processes than we thought. But that’s only fiction. Enter this controversial PsychToday study
and article, “Not Everyone Conducts Inner Speech?” In it, Doctor Russell T Hurlburt presents
a study he conducted on inner speech, you know that little voice in your head that guides
your every move? A group of students were asked to talk about
the way they processed their thoughts about different subjects, Surprisingly, some of
them of didn’t experience inner speech at all. “Maybe Baars talks to himself all the time,
and maybe McWhorter himself sees images of written words while he talks (there’s reason
to be skeptical of both claims), but I’ve investigated such things as carefully as I
know how and become convinced that most people (let alone all people) do not do such things.” ”Most people (including psychologists and
consciousness scientists and quite likely you, dear reader), don’t know the characteristics
of their own and others’ inner experience.” Have we been completely wrong about what it
feels to be conscious this entire time? If these people don’t have inner speech,
is their existence automated? Alright cut the dramatic bullshit, this article
was posted on some leftist subreddit along with a question about what implications this
had on the movement. And in and of itself, it has zero implications. I mean, f[HOO]king Einstein didn’t have inner
speech, inner speech isn’t the same as consciousness or introspection. Just like some people can’t imagine images,
some don’t have inner speech. But it’s a seductive, if narcissistic, scenario,
being sentient in a sea of drones. Horror movies are made out of this stuff. And it’s the belief in this idea, a pervasive
cynicism of the world and humanity, that can tell a lot about a person’s political beliefs. Research has found that cynicism and distrust
of others is correlated with having an authoritarian personality type and voting for authoritarian
policies. If you don’t put faith in others, well,
the placement of strict hierarchies and systems of punishment begins to make sense. Anyway, originally I wanted this video to
be a fun, escapist what-if scenario. Y’know, are there drones who mindlessly
carry on with their life, can they handle autonomy in the hypothetical future socialist
world? But like all fun things and politics, in my
research for the video it became really clear really fast that this wasn’t just a fantasy,
and it made me question my own willingness to buy into the narrative. This topic has been covered extensively by
others, we all know the basics, so I’ll make it quick. Here’s two-dollar Jefferson on the topic:
“A black [is] at least as brave, and more adventuresome. But this may perhaps proceed from a want of
forethought, which prevents their seeing a danger till it be present.” Psychologist Lewis Terman, father of the gifted
education movement, has this to say: “Children of [Spanish-Indian and Mexican
families] should be segregated into separate classes. They cannot master abstractions, but they
can often be made into efficient workers.” Here you see the prevailing sentiment of the
time, black people, Native people and others were animalistic drones with little consciousness. Who, because of bogus science on their low
IQ and brain size were deemed inferior and subject to forced sterilization by the U.S.
government, a practice that the U.S. Supreme Court held up as constitutional. While eventually the tide of history changed
for racial minorities, it didn’t change for everyone. “I feel I cannot stand this place a minute
longer and soon I shall lose the brains, and not be able to interest myself in others and
everything that goes on in the world. The monotony and routine simply drives me
wild… I feel I shall go on degenerating in this
environment into an animal, that only lives to eat – as we do here! – and has not
thought beyond. For really that is all the ‘treatment’
consists of.” “I have only just realised that I am actually
in a lunatic asylum. Who on Earth ordered the cabman to drive me
here?” Intellectually disabled people have always
existed. Madness is referenced numerous times in the
Bible for example. And during the Middle Ages, people’s approach
to them was… a bit draconian. Their treatment varied by culture, but most
associated people with mental disabilities with the spiritual and the occult. It was commonly thought that they were possessed
by demons, so their treatment varied from cruelly beating a person until the demon was
exorcised, to bartering with the demon to get them to leave voluntarily. Most of these individuals ended up paupers
and vagabonds, and while their lives were never easy, they enjoyed relative freedom. With the Renaissance came a fascination with
reason, unreason and enlightenment. People who were considered mad were still
heavily stigmatized, but seen with a peculiar sense of respect, it was believed that they
were uniquely privy to certain cosmic truths. The emphasis on reason eventually manifested
itself in the medical model of madness, which attributing madness to physical deficiencies
in the body, not the occult. From the 17th century onward, the mad were
rounded up, confined and removed entirely from society for treatment in asylums. The treatment of madness could be overwhelmingly
cruel. Simulated drowning sessions, tranquilizing
boxes that shut off sensation in the body, and being put on spinning machines to induce
vomiting and loss of consciousness. As technology became more advanced, strait
jackets to limit movement and lobotomies were used often. But it wasn’t just the mad who were confined. Overpopulated cities began to crack down on
idleness, and using the police as their enforcement mechanism, all deviant elements of society,
from those with legitimate mental disorders, to criminals, the unemployed, and women who
disrespected their husbands were confined. Some in workhouses to force economic contributions
for all members of society, and others in asylums. Civilization and madness were completely opposed
after all. Civilization represents reason, while madness
represents unreason. And unreason was the battering ram used to
remove anyone and everyone who was considered unfit for society. Despite a lot changing in medical science,
institutionalization remains a major issue for anyone with mental disabilities. There was another controversial article, published
in 2016 titled, “The War on Stupid People.” Famous statistician David H. Freedman argues
that the United States has gone too far in its quest to establish a meritocratic society,
and in the process we have begun equating human worth itself to intelligence. It’s unnecessarily glib and a little condescending,
but it’s unmistakably correct. People who have low IQ’s have a much lower
quality of life. They make far less money and are more likely
to meet an early death. People with low IQ’s have been shut out
pretty systematically, whether it’s employment opportunities disappearing, employers checking
your college GPA when hiring or conducting pre-employment tests to check your intelligence. And you might not see anything wrong with
this either, because if you’re like me, meritocratic ideals have been something we
grew up with, if they’re less able then they deserve less of the pie. And our collective fetish for IQ can be seen
everywhere, from the circle-jerk on what the Florida man is up to this week, to the Darwin
Awards and top rated IAmVerySmart posts. The most popular cult shows center on troubled
genius, and people increasingly value intelligence in their partners at the expense of other
traits. I think you get the point. Freedman notes that it wasn’t always so
bad, up to the 50’s, having an average or low IQ wouldn’t affect your quality of life
very much at all. He ends the article by noting that “when
Michael Young, a British sociologist, coined the term meritocracy in 1958, it was in a
dystopian satire.” One where those who were destined to rule
were fast-tracked on their way in life at the expense of those without merit. Sound familiar?. A few points before we continue. First, yeah things got worse for certain people
with low IQ’s after the fifties, for others it was always that way, the United States
has a long history of using IQ tests as justification to gate-keep success. America could be great for white men with
low IQ because it was awful for just about everyone else. And secondly, it equates IQ with intelligence. Not even the co-daddy of the IQ test, Alfred
Binet thought it was an adequate measure of intelligence, it can’t measure emotional
intelligence or creativity or a bunch of other variables that make up what we think of when
we think intelligence. And studies show that having too high of an
IQ, can make you a worse leader and manager, so IQ even falters as a capitalist metric
for workplace success. You had one job IQ! And third, and this might be the most important
point of all, it assumes that IQ is an actual measure of some tangible intellectual ability. I don’t know enough to say whether IQ measures
anything other than an individual’s ability to take an IQ test, whether it’s a simple
aptitude exam that measures collected knowledge with a Western flavor, but there’s a serious
argument to be made that IQ is a useless metric entirely. Either way, I want to argue on the terms of
the author. IQ equals intelligence equals merits, and
that’s the basis from which we’ll continue, because trying to decipher any further than
this is too much for my peanut brain. There’s always an undercurrent of fatalism
when we talk about intelligence, an unspoken truth that it’s either something you’re
born with, or something you acquire early that can’t change much. There’s serious science on the heritability
of IQ, and because it’s such a coveted trait, insinuating that people or groups of people
tend to have less of it than others is a huge sin. But I won’t shy away from the controversy. IQ and poverty are linked. Heh you thought I was going to go somewhere
else with that didn’t you? Nah, IQ and poverty. And it’s a nasty connection. “Research shows that children who slip into
poverty, even for a short time, suffer long-term setbacks even when their families regain their
economic footing,” says psychologist Ruby Takanishi, PhD
“In addition to negative health outcomes[,]research also shows that children raised in poverty
are more likely to experience negative educational and cognitive outcomes, often as a result
of less mental stimulation and increased stress in their living situations. Some research even shows that the brains of
poor children may be unable to process information in the same way as the brains of kids in higher-income
families.” “even though the economy is likely to recover
in the next few years, a generation of disadvantaged children may not.” Damn. The process of cognitive recession in adults
who slip into poverty is also measurable, meaning being poor will actively hurt your
intelligence. Poverty creates poverty in a vicious cycle. Which really flies in the face of everything
we were ever told about how wealth was self-selecting and those who were poor and homeless deserved
it. This view is still everywhere, with articles
that have titles like “Is the American Dream dead?” And there’s an obsessive amount of effort
that goes into measuring the level of social mobility in the country. If we’re reduced to a caste system where
you can’t advance no matter how hard you try, well, we haven’t made much progress
from the old feudal system. But assuming that the system is well-oiled
and effort, intelligence and spunk is correlated with higher success, is it still all that
different from feudalism? I mean, yeah, being able to advance economically
is hugely important, but both meritocracy and feudalism come with one important assumption:
that, yes, some people exist to be the rulers, and others exist to be ruled. I would like to say that capitalism is special
because feudalism came with the assumption that your position as ruled and ruler was
bred into you, but throughout much of capitalism’s history that, wasn’t very different at all
really. And even today, we’ve decided that we’re
okay with unlimited levels of destitution and inequality. We just tell our selves that they deserve it.




Comments
  1. 1. Sunday is video day! I look forward to fulfilling my YouTube rite of passage and failing to meet that promise in the future.

    2. If you feel that the way I spoke of IQ and poverty was a little cavalier, insensitive or insincere, I hope I got my point across that we overemphasize IQ and place it on a pedestal. I felt that the best way to do that was to rip the band-aid off all at once. And, when I speak of poverty, I come from a working class family and have had a few stints of homelessness, so know that it comes from a place of compassion!

  2. The idea that other humans have no consciousness is somewhat laughable if you put enough thought into it. This would mean that the way they would process information would be radically different from other humans. It'd be unlikely that they'd be able to even learn any languages or abstract concepts in a way that would be comparable to "conscious" humans. Also, the music in this video is on point. <3 Cave Story.

  3. I strongly agree with pretty much everything you've said here. I tend to see meritocracy as a good ideal only if it means valuing people based on their skills without assuming skills are innate or saying that some groups of people deserve to suffer. I guess I understand what you're talking about due to how I was treated growing up. I'm neurodivergent and throughout my childhood and adolescence I was under constant threat of being institutionalized. My perceived lack of worth also resulted in extensive physical and emotional abuse from my father during my adolescence. Seeing mass dehumanization rear its ugly head again is horrifying. People think of eugenics and legally-enforced segregation being popular ideas as a thing of the past, but the false metric of IQ to measure intelligence is still with us today. And that's not even getting into the far right's attempts to revive "scientific" racism and the new trend among them of this "NPC" meme.

    I think the difference between the kind of meritocracy I like and the kind you're discussing here is the idea of "exists to be rulers/ruled" as an innate state. An ideal world is one where social mobility is mostly (not entirely, there's no such thing as a perfect, flawless society) down to individual drive rather than immutable circumstances or the perception that some people are inherently better or more deserving than others.

  4. Very good. Interestingly enough, I am highly cynical, yet also highly suspicious of the powerful.

  5. This is some deep ass shit.
    Reminds me my first acid trip 30+ years ago it was all about hierarchy.
    The order of things.
    From top to bottom.
    All levels of consciousness.
    Now i think of it kind of like ant to Indra.
    Really good essay. 💥

  6. One of the core ideas in Hunduist and Buddhist belief is that the mind constantly produces speech and thought, and that is the cause of much suffering and that a quieter mind is more conductive to a better life, I know it's hardly a scientific approach to thing, but It just flips the NPC narrative on it's head from a traditionalist perspective.

  7. @12:01 is that music in the background a cover of the DK Country “underwater” levels? I’m pretty goddamn sure it is, so where did you get it/who’s the artist??!!

    Anyway, great video dude. Love your style, keep up the good work! ❤️🏴♾

  8. " For you intelligence is not one thing among many. You … worship it as if it were an omnipotent beast … a man intoxicated on it believes his own thoughts are legal decision, or facts themselves born of the crowd and time. He confuses his quick changes of heart with the imperceptible variation of real forms and enduring Beings …. You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you."

  9. I feel you have misunderstood the article on Psychology Today.

    The author does feel that inner speech is a "robust phenomenon". 26 out of 30 participants reported inner speech.

    The two people the author responded to had put forth other concepts of human cognition, such as the linguist stating that when a person says a word, they image it written.

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