The brain trust known as the Original PineBros–a cavalcade of shitposting technoskeptics, radical campbois, and a Homeric cryptid named Ron–is always a very mixed bag. Sometimes you get deep thoughts that go on for hours, sometimes you get Garfield roleplay and unsolicited pictures of Stormking’s ass. Fortunately we got the former this time around.
A discussion on one of the most vaunted numbers on the internet–1488–took a turn onto why you see it so frequently in any kind of discount or sale.
I don’t know how true any of this is, but it *feels* true so we’re going to go with that and assume that everything I’m about to write is correct (because I usually am). I don’t think there’s a cabal of Based and Redpilled merchants rubbing their hands behind the scenes because they’ve now tricked the Internet Nazis into buying Product. This is not a reality I am prepared to accept or believe in.
I do think there is something though to the psychological effect that a repeating number has. It’s soothing, it’s comforting, in the same way that alliteration is. It’s repetition. It’s dependable predictable, and repeatable. Pondering this has led me to a horrifying conclusion:
Technocapitalism has turned us into autists.
The human mind has industrialized to prefer ever more structure and order. How much of that is the industrial society tapping into what was already there (certainly religion shows we find a soothing peace of mind in meaningful repetition) and how much of it is being engineered, I will leave that for people with more time on their hands to endlessly argue over.
These are effects that Kacyznski have noted as well in his analysis of Industrial Society. Kaczynski’s obsession with the debilitating and controlling functions of the technocapital system led him to remark upon this about freedom (which may be better understood as autonomy when Kaczynski speaks of it):
“…modern man is strapped down by a network of rules and regulations, and his fate depends on the actions of persons remote from him whose decisions he cannot influence. This is not accidental or a result of the arbitrariness of arrogant bureaucrats. It is necessary and inevitable in any technologically advanced society. The system HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function…It is true that some restrictions on our freedom could be eliminated, but GENERALLY SPEAKING the regulation of our lives by large organizations is necessary for the functioning of industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of powerlessness on the part of the average person. It may be, however, that formal regulations will tend increasingly to be replaced by psychological tools that make us want to do what the system requires of us.”
- Industrial Society and Its Future, Paragraph 114
“The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system…It is the needs of the system that are paramount, not those of the human being. For example, the system provides people with food because the system couldn’t function if everyone starved; it attends to people’s psychological needs whenever it can CONVENIENTLY do so, because it couldn’t function if too many people became depressed or rebellious. But the system, for good, solid, practical reasons, must exert constant pressure on people to mold their behavior to the needs of the system…The concept of “mental health” in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress. “
- Industrial Society and Its Future, Paragraph 119
As I noted above, you have a bit of a chicken-egg situation here about which is causing what. The details of it don’t matter all that much. It’s what we’re seeing and how it functions that matters. The way I view it is that the chaotic pressures of this fast-twitch system is causing people to seek any therapeutic and meaningful form of order, structure, and repetition because this society produces no form of it for them. This seems counter-intuitive, I realize, because after coming back to this post I started to wonder if I had it backwards. When you look at society today, you see what has to be some kind of perverted order with the systematic way people go to school and work and chase dopamine on social media. That is structural, is it not? You could say the same thing about prison, and many prisoners once released still act within the protocols and parameters they were taught to follow in prison. This is conditioning. It is not meaningful.
I noted that on some level what religion responds to is humanity’s need for that. The physical world is a chaotic, dangerous, and insecure world, so the answer to that is an ordered, safer, and secure world that has predictable patterns that can be called upon in the service of a just and loving God guiding it all. The duality of man exists as an oppositional dialectic, highlighting the need to find a world in balance (the Hopi word Koyaanisqatsi means “a life out of balance”). The order that this society provides is chaotic and inverted. Things that are said to be one thing actually mean something else (“Racism is hatred for another race oh except that it now it means power plus privilege also power and privilege are very nebulous”). Everyone repeats certain maxims, but look at the results being the exact opposite (“diversity is our strength”). Everyone’s social interactions come largely more and more through technology, a medium that gets to decide how reality will ultimately be shaped for people and which frequently turns life into a dopamine-based video game that most people are losing. The results speak for themselves in this unbalanced life we are living, the pressures people live under in their daily lives that cause many people to cope in increasingly unhealthy ways.
An example of this behavior: we had a subscriber make a mistake in his subscription and instead of addressing it in a normal way an increasingly rarer normal person would with “hey something seems wrong here, it looks like I got double charged”, said person launched into full invective full of recriminations and assumptions of wrong-doing and threats of taking it to the chans in order to try and destroy as many people as possible. It was looked into. He had two accounts.
I understand that you were poorly socialized and the media and society trained you to be a self-centered megalomaniac long before you discovered edgy politics, and that over the top vainglorious rhetoric, threats and blackmail are the only way that you feel you can engage in the power process, but in fact you subscribed for an annual account and forgot about it.
When things were not industrialized, you saw balance in the duality of this order and chaos. The need for meaningful structure and order often expressed in the form of beautiful buildings like cathedrals. The chaotic pressures of our anxious, inverted society require a rubberband response that you see in the likes of something like Things Organized Neatly, and the rise of very persnickety and particular people. It causes a rise in the kind of people who make histrionic threats over a mistake they themselves made. It frankly causes people to become autistic and have to be managed as such.
And when people reach that state, when they have been molded and oversocialized so severely by the technocapitalist system to be responding to so many pressures, many of which contradict themselves, they’ll find nirvana in the smallest things and seek to impose that sense of meaningful orderliness back on the world. Repeating numbers feel great. Everything in its proper place feels good. It’s just as it should be. It’s just as they promised it would be.
Corporations are well aware of this. They aren’t judgmental in the way I am and they don’t have the nerdy-pants critique of society I do about it, they just see it as the way things are that will help them sell Product. They see the direction people are moving in from the inertia of this capitalist system, built upon over a century of conditioning now, and just nudge it ever so slightly in their favor. People like repeating numbers? Instead of 14.99 make it 14.88. Nice, soothing repeating numbers. Nothing ugly like 14.87. BLEH. What psycho in their right mind would buy Product for the ugly price of 14.87? No. 14.88 is beautiful. Look at the shape of those 8s, the way they repeat. Perfection.
I would expect more of this in the future as corporations examine more of the micro reasons that set people at ease. They’re well-aware that people in this day and age are being completely wound up and no longer feel any sense of mental security. They now sell weighted blankets for the masses (one I admittedly own myself) and increasingly orient places to be more accommodating for those on the spectrum. It’s a perverted order they may have helped to engineer and can now exploit and profit off of. They are responding to the changes that are happening in our society, our desperate need to feel secure and find some meaning in this world, and there to provide just a taste of it but not too much for us.
It’s not personal, it’s just for profit. Here, we slashed the price of the new Sonic game to 14.88. Enjoy.