Speculative fiction writer, translator, and editor

on elon musk’s success in constructing a cosmological framework

originally tweeted on November 3, 2022

(1/20) I think more people need to realize that elon fanboys don’t see him as a public figure, elon fanboys see him as a christlike savior in a new martian prosperity gospel, and logic does not work against christ

(2/20) actually after learning that elon wants to turn twitter into a protocol, I have MORE respect for him, and even less respect for his fanboys who don’t even understand what their christ’s missions are

(3/20) the metaphor goes all the way down to the “jesus christ had some decent ideas, but his fans are insufferable” level

(4/20) I think it’s so funny that elon fanboys who’d jump in to call you a pronoun for saying gender is socially constructed have little to no awareness that economics & currency are also socially constructed, and crypto is not so much a tech revolution as it is a social revolution

(5/20) elon isn’t actually developing tech, he undertakes massive social engineering experiments and they end up working, like how we all rely on paypal even though it’s shit and everyone jizzes their pants for tesla electric cars whose doors fail when their batteries die

(6/20) the entire point being that like it or not, elon musk has been wildly successful at one very specific thing, and that is creating a cult of personality: a mythos, and dogma that enables him to have supporters no matter what, bc whether or not his projects work is irrelevant

(7/20) I mean, from a step back, I actually think it’s fascinating that one private individual has leverage against the entire fragile ecosystem of global nationbuilding myths

I just, once again, wish it were not some “u mad bro?” milquetoast dressing up capitalism with LEDs

(8/20) I think everyone focusing on whether elon’s tech works is completely missing the point that I keep repeating of: we have exited the information age; we are now in a curation age

elon musk’s role is a natural extension of the influencer class, and social engineering is curation

(9/20) we have far too much information for any one individual to process. we have always needed guides & mentors, but now we need them even more with the sheer amount of information we encounter daily

it’s just that now, the barrier to entry to be a guide/mentor is nearly nonexistent

(10/20) this lowering of the barrier to entry is good, because it allows people who have traditionally been barred from accessing spaces and tools the opportunity to do so

it also simultaneously lets in people who abuse and exploit others

(11/20) the issue is not that such people exist: that’s just humanity

the issue is we think it’s inevitable that people will act badly, when it’s more that moderation & curation have not reached sophistication yet bc few people realize how core they are to our current age

(12/20) anyway, I would say that this shift started happening when social networks started moving away from calling connections “friends” and turning them into “followers”

now what was a living room becomes a podium in a global amphitheater

(13/20) so it’s very fitting that martian prosperity gospel jesus christ has decided to take over a social media platform where follower count and visibility are especially important. twitter is a social tool more than it is “technology”

(14/20) anyway, I don’t call elon musk a “cult” because the term is too loaded and derogatory to allow for any kind of meaningful discourse. what I WILL say, however, is that elon musk is wildly, wildly successful at creating a cosmological framework that people follow

(15/20) background on cosmological frameworks here: strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/ev…

the whole reason I wrote this essay was to provide a methodology on how to pick apart social engineering for its underlying assumptions

(16/20) elon musk has created:

• a cosmological framework: the role humans have in the world, the value (or lack thereof) of people

• an epistemological framework: what’s true or “fake news” and how to determine that

• an ethical framework: what is right & wrong

(17/20) and even

• an eschatological framework: a vision for humanity’s destiny, in this case his whole mars thing

THIS is why he is so influential and powerful. not because of money per se, but because he has constructed a way to see the world that others can share

(18/20) you will argue an elon musk fanboy out of muskism with about the same rate of success as you would argue an evangelical christian into denouncing christ

it’s a futile mission. don’t lose focus, channel your energy into maintaining community and yourself

(19/20) here is the big picture analysis that is informing a lot of my interpretation: davetroy.medium.com/no-elon-and-ja…

I’m less familiar with the tech, business, and politics sides, but as a sociolinguist I’m sensitive to how people construct identity, group membership, and power

(20/20) in fact @davetroy has been refuting a lot of the shallow elon takes that have been popping up everywhere, I admit I’m curious whether my analysis checks out or not

on the effects of a twitter exodus, and what keeps community alive

originally tweeted on November 1, 2022

(1/17) this all very much checks out and reflects my theory that we are well beyond the information age and are now in the curation age, and with curation also comes polarization and construction of alternate realities within the same set of experiences

(2/17) thinking big, dreaming, and envisioning radically different futures are not wastes of time, they are the only way it’s possible to have a future at ALL

(3/17) we’re also well into the collapse of the holy US empire, within one generation I’m pretty certain we’ll be considered some C-list country as US-centrism rapidly crumbles as we become increasingly more irrelevant, especially if the dollar stops being compulsory in a global economy

(4/17) but being part of the chinese diaspora gives me, in a way, some peace about this, bc goddamn the one experience we do share is living through huge paradigm shift political upheaval, and adapting to it

things will never be the same again, but the only constant is change anyway

(5/17) like, monetizing the blue checkmark is not actually an attempt to make money, or to gatekeep. this is the same shit as imperial chinese calling a deer a horse: the blue checkmark once again means jack shit in itself. elon just wants to redefine it as a symbol of loyalty, to him

(6/17) rushing the delivery is not a misunderstanding of the tech, it’s fundamentally a loyalty test to see who’ll follow through and who won’t. first step in creating a cabinet of enablers as an authoritarian leader is to cull those who would oppose you

(7/17) someone with the ability to pay $44 billion for twitter is completely divorced from the reality of, like, any twitter user, and more importantly, even less beholden to any of us.

(8/17) if you are spending $44 billion on something, you literally don’t need the thing to make money. you have enough money that your money makes money for you, if you can drop $44b casually. so any monetary argument or pressure is irrelevant when money means nothing to him anyway

(9/17) honestly, we’re probably making elon musk’s life easier if we all exit twitter, because then it’s easier for him to fuck with the tech as a tool. staying on twitter is being about as complicit in anything as, like, living where you live physically rn.

(10/17) I mean the one silver lining is if musk wants to develop twitter as a protocol, that means that twitter actually has longevity and won’t disappear, if he’s successful. it’ll just be different, and not necessarily in a bad way

(11/17) like the irony of jumping ship to email because you don’t want twitter to become a decentralized protocol with no moderation, when email…………………………

(12/17) I actually am totally down with making twitter a protocol! it’s the right size between email and SMS and obviously fills an important communication niche, I mean mastodon is basically sort of doing this but is overly complicated to proliferate as far imo

(13/17) I just wish it weren’t two martian prosperity gospel milquetoasts trying to do it

(14/17) also like, ending the monopoly the US dollar has on the global market is, imo, a good thing, because the US secures its position in the world by exploiting a shitton of countries and tying their economies to ours, pegging currency to the USD

(15/17) I just wish they weren’t trying to replace capitalism with capitalism, but in fancy green hacker font

(16/17) imo constructing alternate realities from the same facts isn’t inherently a bad thing. it’s a side effect of what I believe to be the fundamental existential nihilism of the human experience. but it’s being used to oppress than liberate. more on that here: strangehorizons.com/non-fiction/ev…

(17/17) anyway, the way to kill a community is not to get rid of its people, but to stop them from dreaming, imagining, and envisioning futures. if twitter is where you go to dream, stay here and share your dreams with people, so that we can survive this, and everything else too

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