Linux on a Macbook Air

What do you do with an old late-2010 Core2Duo 1.8GHz Macbook with 2GB RAM, that is no longer able to run the current Mac OS quickly enough? Apple’s recommendation would be to throw it away and buy a new one because it’s about time after 6 years and the hardware probably wore out significantly by now. The second part of the recommendation I have no problem with – since the machine is indeed too slow for running a modern OS with all the applications that I need, I bought a 15” retinabook as a replacement. However, the part where I just throw the old machine away, although all the hardware still functions, it has a very good keyboard, monitor and a touchpad, the battery is above 80% – I don’t think so. So, I tried several things, just to see what can be done.

The first thing I did was boot it from a USB drive containing Ubuntu Trusty Mate LTS 64-bit, to see if it’s actually possible and if all the hardware is correctly recognized. To my surprise, it all worked, completely out-of-the-box and without any sort of additional tweaking, except for one very specific thing, which is the Croatian keyboard layout on a Mac, which is different from the standard Croatian Latin II layout used by Windows and Linux. I tried selecting a combination of a Mac keyboard and Croatian layout in the OS, but it didn’t work. I ended up editing the /usr/share/X11/xkb/symbols/hr file to modify the basic layout:

xkb_symbols "basic" {


    include "rs(latin)"

    // Redefine these keys to match XFree86 Croatian layout
    key <AE01> { [         1,     exclam,   asciitilde,   dead_tilde ] };
    key <AE02> { [         2,   quotedbl,           at] };
    key <AE03> { [         3, numbersign,  asciicircum, dead_circumflex ] };
    key <AE05> { [         5,    percent,       degree, dead_abovering ] };
    key <AE07> { [         7,      apostrophe,        grave,   dead_grave ] };
    key <AE11> { [         slash,    question       ]       };
    key <AB10> { [     minus, underscore, dead_belowdot, dead_abovedot ] };
    key <AD06>  { [         y,          Y,    leftarrow,          yen ] };
    key <AB01>  { [         z,          Z, guillemotleft,        less ] };
    key <AD01>  { [         q,          Q,    backslash,  Greek_OMEGA ] };
    key <AD02>  { [         w,          W,          bar,      Lstroke ] };


Essentially, what I did was reposition z and y, put apostrophe above 7, and question mark/slash to the right of 0. However, the extended right-alt functionality now works as if on a Windows keyboard, so it’s slightly confusing to have the layouts mixed. (ps.: I had to repost the code because WordPress was acting smart and modified the “tags” so I converted it into html entities).

Other than having to tweak the keyboard layout, I had to use the Nouveau driver for the Nvidia GPU, because any kind of proprietary Nvidia driver, either new or legacy, freezes the screen during boot, when xorg initializes. That’s a bummer because the proprietary driver is much faster, but since the only thing I’m about to use the GPU for is playing YouTube videos on full screen, and that works fine, I’m not worried much. Everything else seems to work fine – the wireless network, the touchpad, the sound, regulating screen brightness and sound volume with the standard Mac keys, everything.

Having ascertained that Linux works, I formatted the SSD from gparted, installed Linux, tested if everything boots properly, and copied my edit of the keyboard layout to the cloud for further use. Then, I decided to test other things, wiped the SSD again, and tried to run the Apple online recovery, which supposedly installs OS X Lion over the Internet. Now that was a disaster – the service appears to work, but after you really start doing it, the Apple server reports that the service isn’t “currently” available. After checking online for other users’ experiences, it turned out that it’s “currently” unavailable since early 2015 if not longer, so basically their service is fubared due to zero fucks given to maintenance of older systems.

OK, I found the USB drive containing the OS X Snow Leopard that I got with the laptop, and, surprisingly, it worked great – I installed the Snow Leopard on the laptop but I couldn’t do anything with it because most modern software refuses to install on a version that old, Apple’s own services such as the iCloud and the Apple Store don’t support it, so I just used it to test a few things and I found out that it’s as fast as I remember it when I just bought the laptop – there’s no lag or delays introduced by the newer versions, everything works great, except that the current Linux is a much more secure and up-to-date system than Snow Leopard, so I did the next experiment; I took the Time Machine drive with the current backup of the 15” retinabook running Sierra, and booted from that. It gave me two options – install clean Sierra, or do a full system recovery from the backup. I did the clean install first, and it surprised me how fast the machine was, much faster than my slow El Capitan installation that I was running before finally giving up on the machine, because I had no time for this shit. Then I decided to take a look at what the full recovery would look like. It worked, but it was as slow or slower than the full installation on El Capitan. I tried playing with it but gave up quickly – after getting used to my new machines, it’s like watching paint dry.

I decided to try Linux again, but with a slight modification – instead of running the perfectly reliable and capable, but visually slightly older-looking Mate (which is basically a green-themed fork of Gnome 2), I decided to try the Ubuntu Trusty Gnome LTS 64-bit version, which runs the more modern and sleek-looking, but potentially more buggy and sometimes less functional Gnome 3. Why did I do that, well, because the search function in Gnome 3 is great, and resembles both Spotlight and Windows 10 search function that I got used to in the modern systems, and visually the Adwaita theme looks very sleek and modern on a Macbook, very much in tune with its minimalist design. So, I loaded it up, copied back my modifications of the keyboard layout (which are actually more difficult to activate here than in Gnome 2, requiring some dpkg-reconfiguring from shell). I made a mistake trying to test if the Nvidia drivers work here – they don’t, and I had to fix things the hard way, by booting into root shell with networking (not so much for the networking, but because in the normal root shell mode the drive is mounted in the read-only mode), did apt-get remove nvidia*, rebooted and it worked. Then I installed the most recent kernel version, just to test that, and yes, the 4.2.0-42-generic kernel works just fine. The rest of the installation was just standard stuff, loading up my standard tools, PGP key and the RSA certificates, chat clients and Dropbox, so that I can sync my keepass2 database containing all my account passwords in encrypted form, as well as the articles for the blog.

So, what did I gain, and what did I lose? I lost the ability to run Lightroom, but this machine is too weak for that, and I removed it from the position of a photo editing laptop in any case. The second thing that doesn’t work is msecure, where I have all my current passwords stored in the original form; the keepass file is a secondary copy, so that’s not great. However, Thunderbird mail works, Skype works, Rocketchat works, Web works and LibreOffice works. The ssh/rsync connection to my servers works, all the secure stuff works, UNIX shell functionality works. Essentially, I can use it for writing, for answering mail, for chat, web and doing stuff on my server via ssh. The battery life seems to be diminished from what I would expect, but it’s actually better than it was on El Capitan and Sierra, which seemed to constantly run some CPU-demanding processes in the background, such as RAM compression, which of course drained the battery very quickly and made the machine emulate a female porn star, being very hot and making loud noises. 🙂

I gained speed. It’s as fast as it was running Snow Leopard when I initially bought it, which is great. Also, I have the ability to run all the current Linux software, and I don’t have to maintain the slow macports source-compiling layer in order to have all the Linux tools available on a Mac. I do realize, however, that I’m approaching this from a somewhat uncommon perspective of someone who uses a Mac as a Linux machine that just happens to run Adobe Lightroom and other commercial software; I never did get a Mac to get the “simple” experience that most users crave. To me, if a machine can’t rsync backups from my server, and if I can’t go into shell and write a 10-line script that will chew out some data, it’s not fit for serious use. I run a Linux virtual machine on my Windows desktop where I actually do all the programming and server maintenance, so having Linux on a laptop that’s supposed to be all about “simplicity of use” is not contradictory in any way – to me, simplicity of use is the ability to mount my server’s directories from Nautilus via ssh, and do a simple copy and paste of files. This works better on Linux than anywhere else. Also, the Geeqie image viewer on Linux is so much better than anything on a Mac, it’s not even funny. These tools can actually make you very productive, if you know how to use them, so for some things I do, Linux is actually an upgrade. However, I can’t run some very important commercial software that I use, so I can’t use Linux on my primary setup. That’s just unfortunate, but it is what it is. Linux is primarily used by people who want free stuff, and are unwilling to pay for software, so nobody serious bothers to write commercial software for it. Yeah, theoretically it’s supposed to be free as freedom, not free as free beer, but in reality, Linux is designed by communists who have serious problems with the concept of money, either because they don’t understand it, because they reject it for ideological reasons, or both. In some cases, however, Linux is an excellent way to save still functional machines from the planned obsolescence death they were sentenced to by the manufacturers. Also, it’s an excellent way of being sure that you don’t have all kinds of nefarious spyware installed by the OS manufacturer, if that’s what you care about; however, since I guess that most of the worst kinds of government spying is done by exploits in the basic SSL routines and certificate authorities, that might not help much.

Also, the thing about Linux is that it tries to write drivers for the generic components used in the hardware, instead for the actual hardware implementation. This means you get a driver for the Broadcom network chip, instead for the, I don’t know, D-Link network card. The great aspect of this is that it cuts through lots of bullshit and gets straight to the point, reducing the number of hardware drivers significantly, and increasing the probability that what you have will just work. The problem is, there isn’t much done to assure that every single implementation of the generic components will actually work, and work optimally. In reality, what this means is that if your hardware happens to be close to the generic implementation, it will just work, as it happened to just work on my late-2010 Macbook Air, for the most part. However, if something isn’t really made to generic spec, as it happens to be the case with my discrete graphics, trying to use the generic drivers will plunge you headfirst from the tall cliff of optimism into the cold sea of fail.

So, do I recommend this? Well, if you’re a hacker and you know what you’re getting yourself into, hell yeah. I did it for shits and giggles, just to see if it can be done. Would I do it on a “productivity” machine, basically my main laptop/desktop that I have to depend on to do real work reliably and produce instant results when I need something? That’s more tricky, and it depends on what you do. I used to have Linux on both my desktop and laptop for about 5 years, from Ubuntu Gutsy to Ubuntu Lucid. Obviously, I managed to get things done, and sometimes I was more productive than on anything else. At other times, I did nothing but fix shit that broke when I updated something. If anything, Linux forces you to keep your skills sharp, by occasionally waking you from sleep with surprise butt sex. On other occasions, you get to laugh watching Windows and Mac users struggle with something that you do with trivial ease. At one point I got tired of the constant whiplash experience from alternating between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and quarantined Linux into its safe virtualized sandbox where it does what it’s good at, without trying to run my hardware with generic open source drivers, or forcing me to find free shitty substitutes for paying $200 for some professionally made piece of software that I need. Essentially, running Linux is like owning a BMW or an Alpha Romeo – it runs great when it runs, but for the most part it’s not great as a daily driver, and it’s fun if you’re a mechanic who enjoys fixing shit on your car to keep your skills sharp. I actually find it quite useful, since I maintain my Linux servers myself and this forces me to stay in touch with the Linux skill-set. It’s not just an exercise in pointless masochism. 🙂

About Western supremacism and hate speech

How do you deal with existential threats without hate speech?

Let’s think about this a bit, OK? Hate speech is supposed to be a bad thing, inciting hatred and violence against some group of people. But what if you have a group of people that poses a serious threat to your civilization and threatens to either alter it beyond recognition in a negative way, or outright destroy it? It is politically correct to mention Nazis as one such group – they are commonly accepted as a group that needs to be suppressed in every possible way, and probably the only group against whom hate speech is commonly acceptable. There’s nothing better for virtue-signalling than hate speech against Hitler and the Nazis, right?

However, what about communists? They actually killed more people than the Nazis; the commonly cited numbers are 100 million people killed by the communists, vs. 25 million people killed by the Nazis. Yet, it seems to be popular to declare yourself a “socialist”, speak about social revolution and wear a Che Guevara t-shirt, despite it being a commonly known fact that Che was Fidel Castro’s executioner who personally killed hundreds of people, and wrote about enjoying the feeling immensely. However, I have a feeling that condemning any kind of socialism and putting it on the same level as Nazism would be recognized as some form of hate speech.

If so, I’m all for hate speech. Hate speech is great, I love it. It’s an intellectual immune response against abject evil. Everybody should practice it, in moderation of course, and it should be seen as the most normal response when faced with villainy and evil. You see it, you feel revulsion and hatred for evil, you speak out against it in clear terms. Evil political ideologies, that intend to transform civilization into Gulag archipelago and killing fields and concentration camps need to be hated and condemned.

However, how far is it permissible to go with this? Hate speech, yes, definitely. However, I am rather uncertain about active measures, such as the use of violence against proponents of evil ideologies. It looks like a slippery slope where you’re so effective at fighting monsters that you become one yourself, as Nietzsche would say. Fighting for peace or killing for non-violence sounds very much like fucking for virginity. You can’t use the means that are inherently opposite to your goals. Or can you?

Can you imprison Nazis for denying Holocaust and praising Hitler? Or does it oppose the very tissue of tolerance that is supposed to make up our civilization? Can you imprison people for tolerance, or is it akin to fucking for virginity?

However, let’s explore another possibility – it’s not about tolerance at all. What if “tolerance” is just a bullshit word that was simply pulled out of someone’s arse, just like the concept of human rights, in order to obscure a deeper, yet inconvenient truth: that our society was built on the basis of a Graeco-Roman philosophy and law, Christian ethics, and scientific approach to the physical universe? What if tolerance and human rights had nothing whatsoever to do with it, and were invented by someone who didn’t like Christianity and wanted to do away with it, similar to AD (Anno Domini, year of the Lord) designations being replaced by the CE (Current Era)? What made our civilization great is neither tolerance, nor adherence to the concept of human rights. Our civilization, in fact, put a man on the Moon before those concepts were even accepted in the common discourse. I would actually go so far as to state that the acceptance of tolerance as a virtue, and acceptance of the concept of human rights as a basis of law, is the point where our civilization started collapsing and decaying to the point where it isn’t worth fighting for unless we abandon those two parasitic concepts and go back to the roots, to the real reasons why our civilization is great.

The Nazis were not defeated because we were tolerant. They were defeated because we had more guns and soldiers than they did. That’s all there is to it – the Nazis were defeated not because they were necessarily a philosophical evil, but because we killed more of them than they killed us. The victors in this bloody war then invented all sorts of rationalizations about why this was some cosmic fight of good against evil, to make it seem it was all worth it, but the fact is, we don’t even know if the Nazis would have killed the Jews in the concentration camps and resorted to various evils had they not been violently opposed by other countries. They did attempt to deport the Jews into Israel, for instance, and had they not been opposed in that, and had that succeeded, they would have simply get rid of all their “undesirables” that way, and we would have the state of Israel that we have today, and Hitler would get on with his megalomaniacal architectural projects in the capital of Germania. I am certain that, had there not been a war, the Germans would eventually get rid of the Nazis, just like the Russians got rid of the communists. The best way of keeping arseholes in power is to oppose them by a foreign threat. Without a credible foreign threat that would marshal the population into submission, the dictatorial regimes have to accept blame for their own failures. So, if the Nazis proved to be incompetent rulers, I seriously doubt they would manage to stay in power “for a thousand years”.

The reason why Nazism and Communism were perceived as aberrations is that they abandoned the common core of our civilization, which is Christianity. They are both Modernist ideologies that wanted to get rid of the Christian heritage and replace it with something new and “better”. They killed so many people because they had no compunctions about destroying the “ancien regime” they hated, in a way very similar to the bloodbath that was the French revolution. In a very real way, all those revolutionary regimes show what people are capable of when they don’t expect to be judged for their actions by God. If there is no judgement other than by “history” or “mankind”, if there is no good greater than the good of your political class, race or nation, what is there to stop you from just wiping out everything you don’t like? It’s not tolerance that stops the Christians from killing people. It’s the faith in resurrection, the faith in the afterlife, the faith that this world isn’t all there is, the faith that you cannot solve problems by outright slaughter, because your war isn’t against the flesh, but against the evil spirit of Satan (Ephesians 6:12). A Christian doesn’t attempt to solve problems by killing his religious and philosophical opposition, but by defeating it in both debate and in the criterion of fruits – a Christian desires to be the tree that bears the best of fruits, and here we come to the true reason why our civilization out-competed every other in good results. Science itself was invented by Christians who wanted to mine the physical world for truths and goodness infused into it by its Creator. That’s all there is to it. Science isn’t some eternal opposition to Christianity, as atheists would want to convince you. Science is a tool invented by the Christians in order to explore God’s creation and to praise Him by bearing the abundant fruits of knowledge. Only later was it hijacked by the modernists, by those who wanted to get rid of God and Christianity and create their own kind of order, watering the earth with human blood in the process. They, the murderers, the evil ones, are the originators of the concepts of tolerance and human rights, because they needed those empty and meaningless words as something to put in place of God’s law and God’s judgement as the reasons to be and do good.

What made our civilization great is the Augustinian interpretation of Christianity, the concept of Creation as the process of progressive revelation of God through greater knowledge of both the spiritual truths and the physical world. This understanding is what gave birth to science and technology, and it was later hijacked by the Nazis and the Communists and other Modernist ideologues who tried to uproot science from its Christian origins and use it as a weapon in the hands of the atheists that can be used to violently hammer God out of the minds of people.

This Augustinian understanding of the Catholic Church is in complete opposition to the “sola scriptura” principle of the Bible-fanatics, who don’t understand that the Bible itself doesn’t exist as they understand it, as a singular document of revelation, but as a progressive emergence of religious concepts in the minds of people. As the Catholics understand it, this process of revelation didn’t end with the formulation of the final canon of the Bible. No, it just took other forms – of revelations by saints, of saintly and good deeds of people, of science and technology. The fact that the Bible stops telling the story at a certain point in time doesn’t mean that God stopped talking. Some of the things He had to say took form of this computer I’m using now in order to write this. That’s what I mean when I say that the core of our civilization, what makes it great, is the Augustinian interpretation of Christianity.

It is not great because it is inherently tolerant. In fact, I would argue that it is inherently intolerant, and that it needs to be. It needs to testify its own truth, by living its own ideals and heritage, and producing great things as a testament of living according to God’s plans, because all those great fruits of science are the results of figuring out how the world really works.

And when we figure out what our roots are, when we figure out what made our civilization great, how it became so much superior to everything produced in China or Africa or all those tribes everywhere, we will reclaim our rightful place in the world: of teachers and masters, rather than the guilt-ridden people who need to watch every word in order not to offend some tribe of fucking idiots who understand both God and the world wrong, which is why their civilizations are worthless and they all come to the Christian-made paradises of the West to get some of that. And the irony is, instead of changing in order to be more like us, and therefore better, they try to change us in order to be more like them, not understanding that being like them is the very reason why their own countries are hellholes from which they are now escaping. Their countries are hellholes because they lived there. When they migrate over here, without changing their evil ways, they will turn this place into a hellhole, too. What we need to do is make them either change, to make them reject whatever stupid bullshit they used to believe and practice in their own shitty countries, and to accept our superior ways and beliefs, or get the fuck out to wherever they came from, and now. That’s all there is to it. We need to stop apologizing for being better than everybody else. We need to embrace our right to rule the world, given to us by the very simple virtue of being the ones who figured it out.


Every time I have to purchase equipment I think about recycling, and I’ll share some of my thoughts on the subject.

There are several kinds of recycling:

  • Upgrading or servicing the existing equipment in order to extend its usefulness in its current function (example: upgrading the existing computer’s RAM and replacing HDD with an SSD in order to increase its performance, and keeping it as your current device).

  • Re-purposing obsolete equipment after its replacement had been purchased, and relegating it to some secondary yet necessary role (using an old computer as a HTPC for playing movies, or to replace a family member’s even older and weaker device).

  • Selling equipment on the used market in order to extract the remaining value in form of money, and leaving it to others, who might find the performance satisfactory, to get the remaining use from the device. Donating old equipment can be seen as a combination of that, and giving the money to charity.

  • Disassembling the device and re-using it for parts.

  • Recycling the device for raw materials which can then be re-used for manufacturing a new, modern device.

You basically have the same issue with cars; when you have an old car, how long does it make sense to invest in repairing it and keeping it in function, and when is it more sensible to buy a new or newer vehicle and relegate the old one to a secondary role, give it to a family member who might find it useful even in its present state, sell it to reclaim the remaining value, sell it for parts or have it recycled for the raw materials?

I recently watched a YouTube channel about a married couple that left the city to live on a parcel of land in some rural part of America, I think Idaho or something similar in the mountains, and they basically decided to do it on the cheap, living in a trailer while they gradually build their infrastructure from scratch, using mostly reclaimed materials. When they managed to do something by using essentially their own labor and almost no other resources, they were very proud of their achievement. The whole thing struck me as an example of bad economic thinking, and I’ll explain why.

First of all, the closer you are to processing the raw materials, the cheaper your labor. Essentially, whatever else you do, it will be cheaper to do it, get the money, and use part of that money to pay for the cheaper labor of the lower-qualified workers. If my work-hour costs ten work-hours of a backhoe operator, if I learn to operate a backhoe and use it to do work, I didn’t save n backhoe operator hours, I wasted 9n of my hours worth of money. Essentially, every hour I spend doing someone else’s work, is a loss of money, because I’m no longer earning the money to finance the spending, I’m using up my reserves and reducing my earning potential, because I’m learning how to do work that’s 10x less valuable on the market, and forgetting how to do work that’s 10x more valuable. The only reason why one should abandon his work and learn how to operate a backhoe or mill tree trunks into planks is if it’s more valuable on the market than what he’s already doing. Essentially, the efficient way of doing things is to do your job and let others to theirs’. That way, you get paid for what you do, and you pay others for what they do, and the net result is a wealthy society. If you neglect your job in order to “save money” by doing the others’ job, you are basically abandoning your career and starting anew, from scratch. If that’s what you want to do, fine; also, if that makes economical sense to you, it means that your career is either not bringing you the income it is supposed to, or you didn’t do the math.

So, basically, there appears to be some kind of a mathematical equation that shows if investing work and suffering poor functionality of equipment is worth more than the money-value of investing in either new equipment or in others’ labor. At some point, it’s more economical to get rid of something and either sell it or scrap it, than to keep owning it. On the other hand, at some part of the function it makes more sense to fix something and prolong its useful life than to invest money in a replacement. The most important variable seems to be the value of your labor, and the importance of some piece of equipment for your work. To me, it makes more sense to invest in the newest computers, than to invest in a new car, because I don’t use a car for work. Even if a car breaks down, it doesn’t significantly alter my ability to earn money. It simply becomes less convenient to get groceries. However, if my computer breaks down or even if it becomes too slow, it is a disaster and I need to replace it as soon as I can pay for the replacement, because if my computers die I’m basically fucked, because I use them for both work and information-gathering in order to be up-to date with things, not to mention keeping others up to date. Essentially, I can do without a car for a month, and I can do without a computer for a day. My absolutely essential equipment consists of a desktop machine, a laptop machine that is a fully-capable stand-in replacement for the desktop machine, and a smartphone that makes it possible for me to leave my home office and stay completely up to date with work and to react immediately when necessary. With those three devices, I can basically be completely mobile, go somewhere for a day or ten days and keep working. Without a smartphone, I couldn’t leave the office during work hours, in case I’m needed; since my work hours are 9 to 22, I would get out of shape and degrade quickly. Without a laptop, I couldn’t leave town for more than a day; hence no vacation, and I couldn’t recover from the accumulated strain, and would therefore degrade. Without a desktop computer, it’s game over. So, essentially, I could do quite nicely without most of my clothes, or without a car, or without my walls being freshly painted, and I can easily skimp on those and use the time when I get the car fixed as an excuse to take a walk. If my computer, laptop or a smartphone dies, the only walk I’m talking is to the computer store to get a replacement, because the moment I stop working is the moment I start the process of functional degradation. A taxi driver will have different priorities – for him it’s car first, everything else third.

And this equation of priorities, of things you can sacrifice if necessary, things you can live without if necessary, and things that are your yellow, orange and red lines – of gradual degradation, inability to recover the lost capability, and irreversible loss of capability and eventual destruction, are universal, and that’s why I used this example. It’s a matter of life and death to the entire Western civilization, because they are fucking with the Russians in a way that can be mathematically expressed. You can slander them, sanction them and reduce the price of the goods they export so that you harm their economy. That’s their yellow line – they can take it for years, knowing it will harm them, but the alternative is a nuclear holocaust that is an even greater harm, so they will take the loss for the time and maneuver to change the strategic situation. You can build up weapons at their borders, depose governments in their neighborhood in order to destabilize them, surround them with military bases, and try to draw them into a conventional war. That’s the orange line, something they can take to a degree, but will very quickly maneuver in order to avoid anything that would either imminently cause a direct war, or irreversibly degrade their position. When you cross their red line, you and everybody you know, love, hate or have ever heard of reaches the temperature of the Sun within 30 minutes.

That’s how it works. If you can’t help it, you live with it. If you can’t live with it, very bad shit starts happening very quickly. It’s all game theory, nothing new here. Use common sense to see where their red line is. Cross it in order to die.

Statistics vs. individualism

There’s one interesting apparent contradiction in my political views.

On one hand, I am almost an absolutist meritocrat, which implies extreme individualism to the point of negating any kind of collective identity. You are what you are, and no kind of identification with some group changes your essential nature.

On the other hand, I acknowledge the fact that when people identify with a certain group, or a belief system, they don’t really act as individuals, but as instruments of that group or a belief system. Essentially, mobs break shop windows, loot and set cars on fire. It’s not done by individuals. People essentially give up their personal identity in order to become a part of a bigger entity, a mob, or a cult, or a nation, and this bigger entity is, for all intents and purposes, the active party. ISIS is not merely a group of individuals, it’s an evil collective entity. I understand that the legal system recognizes only individual guilt. The karmic law is even more strict – like gravity, which functions on the level of massive particles, although it appears to function on the level of stellar bodies, the karmic law functions on the level of individual kalapas of spiritual substance, although it appears to function on the level of souls.

We have two major issues. First, how to handle the need to use statistics in order to evaluate broader sociological phenomena, with the need to evaluate individuals on the basis of their personal merit. For instance, if we encounter an individual who belongs to a statistical group that has certain unfavorable general characteristics, are we justified in applying negative general prejudice against that individual? For instance, if we are in the middle of the second world war, and we encounter a German, do we assume he is a Nazi? If we encounter an Asian, do we assume he’s an overachieving nerd with high proficiency in maths and science? If we encounter an African, do we assume he’s a low IQ person with inferior level of education but above average physical skills and strength? All those assessments are justified based on statistics. However, the problem with statistics is that it doesn’t give us a number, but a histogram. It gives us a statistical distribution of certain properties in a population. Speaking as a photographer, you can look at a certain population’s IQ histogram and see whether it’s “overexposed” or “underexposed”, basically by looking at the position and shape of the “bell”. However, there’s another important information you can get from the histogram, and those are the extreme extents of the information contained within the histogram, basically the datapoints containing the lowest and highest measurements. Herein lies our dilemma. If you have a population whose median IQ is 80, the lowest measuring individual has IQ of 50, and the highest measuring individual has an IQ of 150, what do you assume about the group in general? The leftist ideologues would have you believe that pointing out that IQ 150 individual is enough to negate everything else and is to force you to treat every individual in the group as someone who is potentially an IQ 150 person. The extreme racists would point out the lowest-measuring individual and try to make you believe that all members of the group should be treated as the potentially IQ 50 individuals. A realist would say that the realistic expected IQ for a random member of the group is most likely to be within one standard deviation of the median IQ, so it is best to expect normal values but be open to the exceptions; essentially, you have certain expectations but you give individuals a benefit of the doubt when you evaluate them on an individual basis.

The second major issue is that of prejudice. If prejudice about groups of people is based on some kind of evaluation of past experience, should we treat it as informative and trust it, or should we treat it as inherently limiting to our potential to fully experience an individual?

Those issues are something I was thinking about for quite some time, and I’m not sure I have a universal answer. I can only tell you how I deal with the issue.

I am aware of statistics, I am aware of the prejudice, and I use them as sources of information. If some social group is known for increased delinquency, and I see a member of this group sneaking around my property in the dark, and running away as he sees me approaching, I am going to assume he’s some kind of a thief, or worse. However, if a member of that same social group asks me to help him with his car because it broke down, and I have no reason to suspect deception in that particular case, I will help him in any way I can. If a member of that same social group, statistically notorious for low IQ and high criminality, asks me sophisticated questions about science, philosophy or religion, I will immediately assume that this person belongs to the extreme right part of his group’s histogram, and apply my other set of prejudice about extremely advanced non-typical individuals who are usually an exception to all statistical expectations and can be treated only on an individual basis. So, essentially, I always have informative prejudice, but I’m very flexible about choosing which set of prejudice to trust and in what circumstances, and the end-result looks very much like treating individuals in a completely fair and unbiased manner, based completely on their personal qualities. However, I get to this result based on my personal application of Bayesian weighing; it’s never that formal, of course, and it’s not like I explicitly award positive or negative points for each perceived quality and evaluate the person based on their sum, but the implicit process that I go through is essentially that: you get -50 points for your race, +200 points for your verbal expression, +500 points for the intellectual level of your question and +700 points for the spiritual context of the intellectual dilemma, bringing your final tally to 1350 points. Alternatively, you can get +50 points for your race, +25 points for your nationality, -500 points for your verbal expression and intellectual coherence, -700 points for the intellectual merits of your question and -1000 points for the spiritual context, bringing your final tally to -2125 points. Yes, I do evaluate race and ethnicity either positively or negatively, but as you can see, the value I award to those isn’t anywhere close to that which I award for anything within the individual’s personality traits, education and spiritual magnitude. There are certain properties that I would award the symbolic value of 10000 points (either positive or negative), which is sufficient to outweigh absolutely any number of other considerations combined, for instance if I sense evil darkness and a satanic presence from a person. I don’t care what the fuck that person thinks or believes, and other considerations are even less significant. Also, if I feel great spiritual magnitude and clarity from a person, a strong positive vector, this is going to outweigh all other considerations. Essentially, I’m going to rely on my prejudice for the first 100 Bayesian weighing points, but anything that a person can influence by providing direct feedback is going to award him at least thousand points, either positive or negative, and my inner spiritual compass is going to outweigh almost any kind of feedback from the person. For instance, Romana’s initial tally was like half a million positive points from my inner spiritual compass, and a few hundred negative points based on the content of her e-mail which was basically all the wrong shit. Biljana’s initial tally was also half a million positive points from the inner sense and almost nothing from anything else, because she didn’t really communicate anything informative. In Romana’s case, I actually thought she was intentionally testing me, because of the huge difference between the sensed spiritual magnitude and the negative intellectual and spiritual value of everything she said out loud. So, it’s not that I evaluate people only based on what they personally do – sometimes, it’s difficult for them to fuck up so much for it to even matter, if what I feel about them is strong enough. But if I get no spiritual inner feedback about a person, if I have no personal communication with the person that would help me get a good estimate of their personal merits, yes, I am going to rely on the stereotypes and prejudice that will guide that minimum of attention given to that person, which appears to be completely irrelevant to me in all meaningful ways. If you’re a Jew or an Asian, I will assume that you are educated, smart, hard working and competent in what you do. If you’re an African or a Gipsy (including Hindu lower castes), I will assume the worst about you until proven otherwise – I will assume that you’re uneducated, unintelligent, prone to criminality and deception, bound by malignant traditions and culture of your ethnic group, and incompetent in everything you do. If you’re of European origin, that will get you zero points, because I usually function among the white Europeans and this is a normal value that awards no additional points. I will also have expectations based on nationality – I would expect an Ukrainian to be a liar and a thief, a Serb to be a loud arrogant fuck, a Croat to be a backstabbing cunt, an American to be self-confident and ignorant, a Hindu to be traditional and to think in formulae, a German to be polite and civilized, an Italian to be loud and emotional, and so on. However, all those expectations, either positive or negative, will amount to one tenth of the impression created by the first sentence that you write.

What is truth?

Pontius Pilatus once asked a rhetorical question, “What is truth?”

I noticed a pattern: people who are the most skeptical about the possibility of existence of an absolute truth are those who are morally and intellectually corrupt, who have made so many compromises and wrong choices that they no longer have any soul left. When someone questions the existence of truth, it’s his own existence that is in question, because he no longer knows who or what he is.

The matter of truth, however, is a tricky one, because it is usually defined as statement of fact, and what is considered to be a fact can indeed depend on one’s point of view, or depth of knowledge. It was long considered a fact that the Sun moves around the Earth, because that’s what was perceived. Only with deeper intellectual and perceptual insight was it revealed that the movement of the Sun is an artifact of Earth’s rotation. However, the statement that the Sun moves on the sky is true, and this truth was a necessary step towards the discovery of deeper truths about orbital mechanics. If you deny that the Sun moves, you can’t measure anything properly, and without measurement the door to further discovery is closed.

I therefore define truth as a process of discovering reality. Truth is a process. This process goes from establishing and stating the basic facts, as they are perceived, and going from there into the abstract layer of interpretation, of figuring out what it means. You state the fact that the Sun and the stars move across the sky, you measure what precisely is going on, and if your measurements are accurate enough, a Newton can use them to apply calculus and create a model of the solar system. However, there will be discrepancies between the model and the reality, and those discrepancies need to be carefully measured and noted, because an Einstein can then use them to model his general relativity. So, accurate perception and clear statement of facts are the necessary prerequisites in the process of following lesser truths towards the greater ones, on the path of revelation of reality.

So, as much as truth is a process, so is lie. Lie is a process of obscuring the facts, of incorrectly reporting them and interpreting them in a way whose purpose is to hide reality and replace it with an illusion.

The absolute, final reality, the goal at the end of the path of truth, is God. To lie, is to stray from this path, and to lead others astray. To choose lies, to relativize truth, makes one an enemy of God.