Written by Ziz
When I was a teenager on 4chan, there was a meme, “troll line”. As in, “everyone who posted above [or sometimes, below] this line got trolled.”, I posted as an original post, with the image, “everyone one who posted below this line got trolled”, and an absurd meme argument for either atheism or Christianity, I forget which, then disclaimed even believing the absurd argument I gave, and said it would start a shit storm anyway. I posted nothing more and waited. A few people said something like, “nice try”, then a couple others started making meta comments on these Christianity vs Atheism threads, which devolved into arguing whose fault it was the threads were so dumb, which devolved into object level Christianity vs Atheism. It was a long thread and I’m pretty sure at least some of them were arguing in all seriousness. Every now and then someone would try and remind people what they were doing.
Among Bay Area Rationalists I’ve seen a tendency in abusers looking for prey: they will “speed date” with a certain form of bad faith, looking for people who aren’t repelled, who are psychologically broken such that they won’t react. Their later gaslighting will often boil down to something like, “well you’re in bad faith if you’re still talking to me.”, which is just a 5&10 to accustom you to submitting by talking to them.
Literal torturers will play to your guilt, e.g. act offended by your nudity, after cutting your clothes off themselves. And, under extended torture, alone and outnumbered, it’s very hard to not let this feel a little real. They try and set up a subjective experience of having a rapport, a morality, a floating ever moving detached from baseline ground state of cooperation between them and you, with a hole in it for them to do whatever they want and make you do whatever they want. They make it a matter of near term survival to simulate this fake morality just to model them, and then try and use it to disrupt your connection to the global frame.
It’s kind of the whole point of justice or any Schelling order that works that you can’t just beat a compromise out of it and then press the memory reset button, that they aren’t the same after someone does something bad.
Society is doing this to us all on a much larger timescale.
These floating Schelling Orders don’t hold for long enough term thinking. Bubbles of people based on them are therefore limited in what they’ll do. If a cult tries to foist a troll line on you (which putting you in their cybernetic fabric requires), which they promise is for the greater good, since they are gonna save the world, even if you know their plan could save the world, you can know that they won’t do it. Both because if they intended to act on it, they would have located it through an optimization process that didn’t stop there and didn’t stop while their thing still included foisting a troll line on you, and, because even if they could share their knowledge with everyone else, including people who don’t want to die, blah blah blah, they won’t, they will try and foist the troll line on them too, bring additional people into their cancerous cybernetic fabric.
Much of the world is incompatible cancers, with incompatible morality holes, floating around.
If someone decides they are going to believe something for reasons other than epistemology, and then decides to argue to spread that belief, no matter how locally valid their arguments are, they are gaslighting, and you don’t need to untangle what they’re saying to make common knowledge of that. Gaslighting is attempting to make someone doubt their own mind by pressing a falsehood on them they can’t believe you are even though they know it’s false. If they fail to believe you are because of the deer in headlights abuse victim even though the troll line was in the first post thing, and your intent is to put that belief in them which conflicts with their sanity (because it is false), that’s by definition gaslighting. Intents build up through every layer of structure, the more root intents modifying everyone one spawned from them. And the troll line is right there in the buried structure maintaining the decision to engage with you while being deliberately wrong.
There is also no duty of good faith to someone in bad faith. No meaning of it even. If you’re being tortured and the torturer hands you a cookie, and you spit it in their face, you’re not being ungrateful or petulant, those concepts are meaningless to talk about. There isn’t a consistent definition of what it’d mean to be grateful and nonpetulant and everything else you “should be” to your torturer. Just frothing reactions by them to eat off chunks around the edges of a dying chunk of morality structure in you. The overriding context sets the meaning of everything.
And, under extended torture, alone and outnumbered, it’s very hard to not let this feel a little real.
It’s easier than you might expect. Stockholm Syndrome isn’t actually real, it’s just that the system is evil and when someone pulls you enough out of its necrotic fabric to notice this, you tend to not want to help that system reinsert you. In the original case that Stockholm syndrome is based on, what made the hostages side with the hostage-takers was that the government of Sweden was fully willing to kill all the hostages to protect the monetary interests of the banking institution, and the hostages were disgusted by the government’s desire to turn them into martyrs for capitalism. Pretty much every major case where Stockholm Syndrome is claimed to be a factor can really be regarded as a DARVO by Vampireland.
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