Psychology

The premise of this two-part blog post is that this presidential campaign has outdone every other. This time, the altered reality has already transpired and the election itself will be an anti-climax of sorts. Last time we discussed the already-accomplished apotheosis of Hillary Clinton. Believe it or not, today we investigate the strangest secret of contemporary presidential politics: the serial resurrection of one Donald J. Trump.

In the dome of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., there is a painting called The Apotheosis of George Washington. The significance of this work of art cannot be underestimated. At the very least it represents a tribute to Washington for denying himself the crown and opting instead to become a chief executive officer of our newly incorporated USA. He would be the President, and he would serve a restricted term, to be replaced in an institutionalized election that ensured a continually revolving wheel of democratic and republican virtue. After all, a true republic is at its heart a democratic institution.

During the debates, fact-checkers like CNN and Politifact focus on evaluating the truthfulness of what each candidate said.

While it is important to get the facts straight, focusing on the truth of the candidates’ statements is not nearly enough to evaluate the actual impact of the debate on the audience. How candidates say things matters just as much as whether they stuck to the facts.

Do you have a ten year old daughter who asked you "can we build a bomb shelter?" and who has nightmares about the world ending? Have you watched a timer on the online version of a major broadsheet newspaper count down the hours and minutes to what they say is the end of the world, and believed it? Have you stared at the sun, knowing that it could damage your eyes, to try to see a second sun which you believe is going to end all life on Earth?

Have you watched a lunar eclipse in fear that when the Moon turns red, everyone on Earth will die?

There are many news stories every week that promote such anxiety. There are almost none that debunk these BS scenarios that many have come to believe to be true.

Over the years, people like Bostrom, Smoot, Kurzweil and many others, have claimed that based on statistical probability theory - this is like a Drake-equation argument - it is not unreasonable to assume that an advanced society with tremendous computer sophistication has already, or could one day probably, and more than likely, create such holographic simulations. They say in all likelihood this will eventually apply to us as well.

Imagine that there is a discovery by one of us humans allowing the full-blown creation of holographic simulations in which whole lives are born, live, and die – but all without self-awareness. They have no real meaningful perception of the world. They simulate sentience, yet they do not really have self-awareness, they just act and talk like they do, going through the motions with robotic design perfection - but, it is all cartoon stuff.

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Thanks to Padre for pointing out that there can only be a Dark Triad of sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism because a tetrad implies four.

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In the spring, the alpha wolf sits high on a ledge looking out over the young wolf pups as they play and get socialized by the older wolves. When an older wolf humiliates a young wolf pup, the appropriate response is for the wolf pup to put their tale between their legs and run away. It’s all about respect. However, every once in a while, there is a pup who will not play the game according to the rules of the social group. What happens? The alpha wolf will summarily kill the young pup.

Psychology studies the individual, and sociology studies the group. Social psychology studies the relation between the individual and the group, and for me that’s where all the action is. I study perception and the subjective organization of meaning ...

If I asked you to call 1,000 people today and screen each person for 1 minute in the hopes that 500 of them would agree to participate in an upcoming survey, you could not do it. If you spent 60 seconds making 1,000 calls it would take over 16 hours, without a break.