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Elon Musk and 738

Why do I get on so well with Elon Musk? It’s to do with the prince and the pauper—and the diagram above.

The man at the top and the man at the bottom have more in common with each other than the men in the middle—and that’s why I get on with Elon. It’s because he has everything and I have nothing—or he has all the material things and I have all the spiritual things.

Think about a major natural disaster—a nuclear war—and then think about who is most exposed in that. The ultra-rich can just fly off to a nuclear shelter whenever the need arises—and the ultra-poor can just drop everything and leave for the wilderness, everything I own could fit into a 35l blue rucksack.

But it’s the people in the middle who are stuck. The people with 2.4 kids, a mortgage, and some savings—but not a lot. People with a social position to lose, people for whom that little parcel they’ve acquired is everything.

They are really stuck in a catastrophe—or when society collapses—because they stand to lose everything, and they can lose it easily. Men like Elon and me, on the other hand, have flexibility.

Musk has, in effect, unlimited resources, can just head to a bunker in New Zealand at will, and I can bail out to the wilderness and live in a sleeping bag for months on end (I sleep with my window open year-round, inside and outside are the same for me).

And Musk can speak his mind—because he has so much money to defend himself and because he is vital to US commercial and defence interests.

He just can’t be touched, so he can say pretty much what he wants—he’s too critical for the regime’s economic and defence interests, and they’re just about smart enough not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

I can speak my mind because I’m at financial null—no money at all, just spirit. I don’t answer to anyone, I don’t have to suck up to anyone—because I don’t have a reputation to manage, there’s nothing you can take from me.

Elon has a large brood of children, and I have none (just spiritual children)—but the average middle-class person has 2.4 children, just enough to worry about if something went wrong.

Elon has, to put it crudely, “redundancy” when it comes to children—so he doesn’t have to be too worried about his line. Meanwhile, I know death isn’t real and I will continue in another realm—thanks to my magical exploits.

So Elon’s life is protected by his money and position, and my life is protected because I’ve been misdiagnosed with terminal cancer and survived what could easily have been a fatal car crash without a scratch. I’ve confronted death, so it doesn’t frighten me—and, through my magical experiments, I know death isn’t the end anyway.

For the middle-class person with 2.4 kids who goes to church and hopes it’s real but isn’t sure, death and the prospect of losing their children frightens them. Not so for Elon and me.

So there’s not much you can threaten us with.

Elon would be hard to put in jail, because he exercises probity—but he’s also too important to jail and can afford the best defence. And I’m a man who once spent eight hours staring at a white wall, nine hours at the sky, and a month just staring at the garden for eight hours a day.

Do you think prison would faze me? It would just be a chance to meditate at length—and I can change reality with the magical will, even in prison.

How will you stop a man who is not afraid to die or be put in prison—a man who has no interest in money, sex, or social status?

That is not how life is for most people—most people live in what Taleb calls “mediocristan”.

To live in the middle is to be fragile, to be in a delicate condition—you live by your reputation, your mortgage isn’t paid yet, and you’re always looking over your shoulder.

That’s not how it is at the extremes.

Taleb says: "So while weight, height, and calorie consumption are from mediocristan, wealth is not. Almost all social matters are from extremistan. Another way to say it is that social quantities are informational, not physical: you cannot touch them (p.33)."

Hence in mediocristan, an outlier is not significant in relation to the total, whereas in extremistan the impact is vast (“God spits out the lukewarm”).

Elon and I live in “extremistan”, where quantities are informational, and so we thrive at the extremes—he has total material power, and I have total spiritual power; and that’s why we relate so well—it’s the prince and the pauper.

The above diagram is a heterarchy from computer science, within it any monad can assume any role—high or low. In other words, this is not a hierarchy or a democracy—it’s government by fools, by the wild card, by 0. It’s government by what is negated, what can be anything—prince or pauper, both and neither.

It’s a mystical system, it’s the structure of the mind, it’s what Elon and I live within—and that’s why we’re beyond left and right, beyond hierarchy and democracy, beyond good and evil.

We’re, as the French say, “a body without organs”.


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