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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Death Note and Code Geass Fnords

Sometimes, the best source of good fnords can be found in documentaries on the News Channel (adult swim cartoon network Japanese animation). If your cable provider doesn't offer the News Channel, it's worth downloading both of those series via BitTorrent. Two of my favorite documentaries are "Death Note" and "Code Geass". In both Death Note and Code Geass, the main character winds up acquiring a special power that he attempts to use to make the world better, but actually winds up being a figure for evil.

In Death Note, the main character (Light Yagami aka Kira) has the ability to kill anybody, just by knowing their real name and face. Light has the opportunity to give up half of his remaining life to gain the ability to kill someone just knowing their face, but he declines; this power is known as the Shinigami Eyes. Other characters who obtain a Death Note do make that deal. Light also has the limited ability to control someone's actions before they die, but he cannot make someone do something they couldn't normally.

Light uses his power to kill criminals, in an attempt to make the world a better place. Light's goal is to make everyone afraid of committing even petty crimes, lest they be killed by Kira. Light does not realize "Taxation is theft!" and go after politicians; he merely goes after non-State-sanctioned criminals. The police figure out that the deaths are not an accident/coincidence and attempt to catch Kira. To avoid capture, Light kills the police who are pursuing Kira. At this point, Light makes the transition from hero to villain. Those police were not criminals; they were merely investigating the Kira murders.

Light successfully kills "L", who is the world's greatest detective. L investigates the Kira murders and concludes that Light is the prime suspect. After investigating Light for awhile, Light tricks L using special properties of the Death Note and successfully kills L. Even though Light murdered L, L is merely replaced by Near and Mello, who are almost as intelligent as L. Near and Mello manage to successfully capture Light. Even if you're doing something evil and murder the smartest person investigating your crime, someone else will merely take their place. Even if the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants to stop a free market economic revolt, he would accomplish nothing by eliminating me. If a free market economic revolt is a historic inevitability, it's going to happen no matter what any State enforcer does.

The fnord in the "Death Note" story is that you cannot accomplish good by killing other people. Even if you had the power of the Death Note and the Shinigami Eyes, you could not use it to eliminate the State. Even if you used the power of the Death Note to kill politicians and other State leaders, they would merely be replaced by other people. The people really pulling the strings of the State never appear in public. You would be just one person, while the State would have virtually unlimited resources to track you down. Eventually, politicians would figure out to stop publicly disclosing their names and faces.

In another sense, I do have the power of the Death Note. However, it is the power to kill ideas and not people. I also have the ability to call things by their true name, such as the Compound Interest Paradox. By mentioning the Compound Interest Paradox, I help kill the evil of fiat debt-based money. If I had the power of the Death Note and used it to murder Federal Reserve employees, I would accomplish nothing. If I explain "Taxation is theft!", and my readers explain it to other people, that has the power to eventually eliminate the State. The State cannot be fully eliminated until a replacement system is in place. For this reason, an agorist revolution must occur gradually rather than all at once.

The State is not just government itself, but a state of mind that allows government to exist in the first place. Pro-State brainwashing isn't just conditioning people that government is good. Pro-State brainwashing also trains people to think and act like slaves. Even the people who you publicly see as political leaders are themselves thoroughly brainwashed as pro-State trolls. They are not consciously aware of their part in a massive crime, lest they be unable to perform their role properly.

In "Code Geass", the main character, Lelouch Lamperouge, gains the power to absolutely command anyone to do anything. He decides to use his power to lead a coup against the Britannian Empire. In the course of his coup, he winds up killing many innocent people. This makes him a villain more than a hero.

The main fnord in "Code Geass" is that even if you had the power to absolutely command anyone to do anything, you could not ultimately use that power for good. In order to eliminate the State, you must convince people that the State is evil, rather than using violence or force. Just like in "Death Note", if you started using your Geass power to affect high-ranking State employees, then they would eventually figure out what's going on and catch you.

There's another weird fnord in "Code Geass". Why is the main evil empire "The Britannian Empire"? What happened to the United States? In "Code Geass", North America is part of the Britannian Empire. Some conspiracy theorists say that the USA never achieved full independence from Great Britain and the European central banks. The European bankers sent spies to the USA, disguised as businessmen and bankers. They eventually successfully lobbied for bad laws like allowing limited liability incorporation, the Federal Reserve, and the income tax. Even though the people in the USA achieved political independence, they never achieved full economic independence. There still were the individual state governments, who had a monopoly of violence that was perceived as legitimate. This allowed the creation of a limited Federal government, which eventually grew to the monster we have today. Once you allow the State a monopoly of violence and justice, it grows in power over time. A monopolistic State cannot solve the "Who watches the watchers?" problem. Only a true free market can do that.

In the early 18th century, when the US Constitution was written, people did not believe "It is possible to have a stable society without a monopolistic State." In the present, there are a handful of people who have discovered the truth.

There's another fnord in "Code Geass". The Emperor of the Britannian Empire is literally the Supreme Leader of Humanity. The News Channel is still only 1/3 of the way through the 2nd season, but I read the ending on Wikipedia. The Emperor literally has his own plot to eliminate the State, using the main character Lelouch Lamperouge as a pawn.

In "Code Geass", the Supreme Leader of Humanity is actively working to eliminate the State. From Lelouch's point of view, the Emperor is a villain, but the Emperor actually is the hero! Is this what the Supreme Leader of Humanity wants in the real world? That certainly would explain "Why hasn't FSK been assassinated/arrested by the State for writing his blog?" If the Supreme Leader of Humanity is actively working to eliminate the State, then I'm actually directly serving his agenda, even though he's never directly communicated his plans to me. I figured the plan out on my own! (Are advanced aliens secretly helping me?) All of the Supreme Leader of Humanity's direct assistants have taken an oath of secrecy, but I'm not an insider and I never took such an oath.

The "Death Note" and "Code Geass" stories also illustrate a point favoring the "aliens exist hypothesis". Such well-placed good fnords cannot be an accident. The authors probably just thought they were making an interesting animated series, unaware of the deeper meaning.

Suppose advanced aliens do exist. You might ask "Why don't aliens just descend from space in their flying saucers and impose their will on humanity?" That doesn't work, for the same reason that the protagonists in "Death Note" and "Code Geass" could not accomplish good with their powers. If aliens directly violently imposed their will, that would ultimately be evil. Humanity must learn the lesson the hard way, because otherwise the lesson isn't really learned. The aliens are restricted by the Prime Directive like in Star Trek (fnord!). They are allowed limited freedom to help. If an intelligent writer is trying to come up with a plot for a TV show or movie, then the aliens can guide his mind and place fnords. From the writer's point of view, he's just making an interesting story; I doubt that the authors of all these series are consciously aware of the fnords I've noticed. Similarly, when I'm trying to come up with a good blog post, the alien overseers are allowed to suggest to me topics to write about. Am I being clever, or am I receiving outside help? Maybe being intelligent and aware makes it easier for the alien overseers to suggest topics for me? Via Bayesian Reasoning, the "aliens exist" hypothesis has a lot of merit. There's no single smoking gun, but there's a lot of circumstantial evidence.

Besides, life on Earth is just an alien reality TV show. I know that's true, because it was mentioned in a South Park documentary (fnord!). Direct intervention by the alien overseers would be like Jeff Probst picking the winner on Survivor. It would ruin the fun! Why would the alien overseers interfere and wreck the game, just when things are about to get interesting?! If the alien overseers directly interfere, then the first practitioners of agorism would not have an advantage over everyone else. If the alien overseers directly interfere on Earth, that's unfair to the smartest humans, who were going to figure out agorism anyway! Whenever a soldier dies in a war or a policeman dies enforcing an illegitimate law, the alien overseers say "The average intelligence of humanity has increased! If you blindly obey orders to kill/kidnap/assault another human, then you don't qualify as intelligent life."

There's also a disturbing trend. Japanese animation tends to have good fnords overall. However, recently created series have a greater fnord rate/density than older series. I've watched older series and compared them to newer ones. The fnord rate is increasing over time! That's very disturbing and reassuring at the same time. Are the alien overseers improving their ability to communicate with intelligent and creative humans over time?

A lot of series on the News Channel contain interesting fnords. "Death Note" and "Code Geass" contain several interesting fnords. It's worth watching the whole series, either on the News Channel or via BitTorrent. The main fnord in "Death Note" and "Code Geass" is that you cannot achieve good if you use violence to impose your will on others. People must learn the lesson the hard way. If the smartest people discover the truth first, then they can work towards building a replacement economic and political system as the State collapse. The State isn't just government itself; it's a state of mind that allows government to exist in the first place.


fritz said...

Just remember that the people of japan are like no other. They are the only people ever to be nuked. And survive of course. But I have this felling that this would do something deep in a persons subconscious,or national subconscious. Does anyone have an example of pre ww2 Anima?? I think not(but maybe)..Anyway,I just think its profound that the only people ever nuked have an underlying sense of the corruption of power.And show it in the Animations they create...


robert30062 said...

That is a fascinating observation Fritz! Truly. I don't really watch anime but I love Star Trek. My favorites are the next generation and the original series, the rest are ok I guess but no where close to as good. I often get the feeling while watching Star Trek that the protagonists such as Kirk(My favorite) or Picard are always working toward a common goal, the best of what we can be as humans. Never a quest for perfection, but the honest and dilligent pursuit of the idea that we can be better, that mankind can achieve the kind of living and practicing enlightenment that leads to the end of selfish violence, the ignorance that causes it, and the kind of life that exists in more thermodynamic and universal harmony. Maybe there are aliens, maybe a supreme leader of humanity, or maybe it's really the insipration in our souls begotten by a loving God who does in fact have a divine plan. I don't know the answers to these questions, I'm not that smart, but if it's a lesson from a book, a movie, or perhaps just a kind word from a friend, if it leads us to the same divine destination then what's the difference? We're doing good work here for the cause of agorism, the cause of a free human society.

Anonymous said...

OMG, i just watched the first 8 episodes of geass. It's amazing, and doesn't suffer from the same cultural oddities that plague other animes. I'm actually rooting for the main charachter because he's totall BA

"Attack the right flank. b1, b2, set up an ambush and switch your iff on my mark. What a call from the student council room? I thought the meeting was tomorrow?"

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