The BRAWN Initiative

BRAWN Initiative
I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul.

STEM is dead and women have killed it.

For much of my adult life there has been unwavering support in the media for STEM education. The democratization of the university degree, a product of greed and affirmative action, has flooded the labor pool with low-skilled STEM graduates with little hope for a full time career. We were told the only way to succeed in life, nay the only way to find work, was to study Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. However, upon graduation none of this was true.

The research laboratory is where you will inevitably wind up with your prestigious STEM degree. Those outside of STEM fields have a false conception of what research actually entails. Research is not traveling to remote islands and collecting dead finches with disparate beak shapes. Research is not mixing chemicals to create gold. Research is not testing the atom bomb in a remote New Mexico desert.

Research is monotony. Research is sitting at a computer for hours on end staring at data on Excel. Research is adding Red Liquid A to Red Liquid B with a broken pipette manufactured in 1988. You will never discover anything. You will never invent anything. You will never produce anything of value.

Science is so compartmentalized nowadays that you have no idea what you’re working on. A part of a part of a part of some larger part. You’re given a set of instructions to follow and repeat until you find a different lab. There is no room for creativity or innovation. The grant rules everything around you. Sitting in a fume hood under nauseating fluorescent light all day makes you no better than the lab rats you test boner pills on.

STEM is well-suited to people who follow the rules. People who don’t think big. People who don’t challenge the status quo. Women thrive in this type of environment, as do H-1Bs from the Philippines. The former tends to move up quickly into management. If a woman doesn’t already manage your lab, the impotent, old Boomer male who does will happily change that.

The old Boomers of STEM are dinosaurs. They are replacing themselves with a cohort of strange mystery meat women with names you can’t pronounce. I’m told there’s a shortage of women in STEM but there’s really a shortage of people who aren’t first-generation immigrants. People who don’t ask The Big Questions. People who are more than willing to be the worker ants of the seething hive of Industrial Civilization.

Technology has longed ceased to improve lives. The latest dick pic apps from Silicon Valley let us Keep Up with the Kardashians, but otherwise tether us to an inescapable virtual hellscape. Engineering, too, has failed us. We set foot on the Moon and that was about it for technological progress. Advancements in robotics promise us a future in which no one will have to work. But we’ve been told that for a long time. Work isn’t bad as long as it’s dignified. There is nothing dignified about receiving a UBI check from the government after watching your mandatory twelve hours of targeted mobile ads per day.

Mathematics serves as the body of the STEM hydra, and remains to an extent the least corrupted of the four fields. Notoriously difficult, higher level math serves as an obstacle many students cannot surmount. Life science undergraduates tap out after differential & integral calculus, something of which should be mandatory to graduate high school. I am told that in China all university students regardless of major must pass linear algebra and differential equations. This could be a good filter for a better education system in the future.

It is clear by now that STEM is a meme propagated by big business to drive down wages in highly technical disciplines. The supposed STEM shortage is nothing more than a hoax to flood the labor market both with underpaid recent graduates and H-1B Filipina waifus for the enjoyment of middle management Boomers. STEM is on its way out and its death invites us to ponder what should replace it.

I would like to propose my very own BRAWN Initiative. The technical disciplines have for too long been filled with nerds lacking a sort of vital spirit necessary for innovation and discovery. Worse, the rote nature of contemporary STEM has attracted insect people content to memorize and repeat soundbites from their college professors. The BRAWN Initiative will make them all submit to the will of the New Man.

One cannot have a healthy mind or soul without a healthy body. Thus, Broscience is the first of the five core components of BRAWN. By selectively drawing from ancient wisdom, biostatistics, and esoteric bodybuilding forums, Broscience represents all that is good and pure in regards to health and well-being. To paraphrase a famous bodybuilder, “Are you going to listen to somebody who studied the body or somebody who built the body?” With all this talk in the media about healthcare and the impotence of the government, the Age of DIY Healthcare cannot come soon enough. Look after your bros as they would look after you.

Religion is the second component of BRAWN. The health of the soul is criminally overlooked by modern science. Some of these lab coat-wearing neckbeards even say the soul doesn’t exist. We enlightened few know this isn’t true. Choose a faith and follow it. It doesn’t matter if it ‘isn’t real’; the Truth lies in the stories and parables regardless if they actually happened.

The third core component of BRAWN is Aesthetics. As I have written before, your appearance is literally the only important thing about you. But Aesthetics goes beyond this: we must teach students to appreciate Beauty in all forms, from art to architecture to Nature. A respect for Beauty translates into a respect for Life itself. Life is not and should not be a race to the very bottom. Through Broscience and Religion (body & soul) we will elevate ourselves and our civilization into the realm of the Aesthetic.

Will to power is the fourth and foundational force of BRAWN. Will to power is your vital spark, your inner flame, your essence. Will to power is a rebellion against the overwhelming force of entropy that threatens to consume us all. By cultivating will to power through intense physical training, endurance exercises, and mandatory nude Greco-Roman wrestling, we will be able to overcome the pervasive nihilism of post-modernism.

The last core component of BRAWN is Natural philosophy, the original science. Natural philosophy concerns itself with the mathematics that underpins all physical phenomena. We must learn from the Ancients by reading the foundational texts of this field and expand on it in our own ways. It is an atrocity that public schools teach mathematics, physics, and biology without having students read the works of Pythagoras, Archimedes, and Aristotle. An experiment is of no use if you do not understand the fundamental reasons behind natural phenomena. Many people can do calculus but few know why and how it was developed over millennia.

Thus, let us cast STEM into the trash heap of post-modernity. Let BRAWN be the future of total human development. Let us be stronger, smarter, and more introspective. Let us ask The Big Questions and know how to answer them.

All Tomorrow’s Parties

St. Elliot
For Thursday’s child is Sunday’s clown.

The 2013 Isla Vista shooting signified a watershed moment in my personal life. I had moved out of Isla Vista only a year before, leaving behind Santa Barbara for what I thought would be the last time. Isla Vista is an unincorporated town bordering the Pacific Ocean, home largely to students from the adjacent UC Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Community College; it is Southern California distilled into its absolute essence. The town has a reputation for its house parties and bohemian surfer culture. It’s not uncommon to walk around on a weekend night and end up invited to an ad hoc party provided your group contains a girl or two.

On its surface, Isla Vista is a fairly welcoming place. It’s easy to talk to random people when you’re both in varied states of inebriation. By the end of the night, you’ll often find yourself with a larger group than you had initially gone out with. The drunken friend, in all his inescapable ephemerality, is among the most agreeable of souls. He is excitable, earnest, and adventurous. You will never see him again beyond the night you met. Your haphazard plans for hanging out again will fall through despite his prior insistence.

Californians love to make plans and never follow through with them. If you don’t have a specific date and time set to meet with someone, they will never show up. Even if you do, they still won’t show up. It’s somehow acceptable here to make arrangements at the end of a conversation and silently disregard them the following day. Word is most definitely not bond around these parts. I’ve often postulated whether alcohol is the only substance holding our postmodern social fabric together. Alcohol makes what so many find unbearable about company temporarily endurable. It’s no small wonder that mastery of the fermentation process was one of our earliest agricultural achievements.

Beyond the opaque façade of revelry and distraction, Isla Vista can be an incredibly sinister place. When you are not invited to the parties, when you are alone, the entire town comes to resemble a rowdy bar in which you’re the only sober person. Being in a bar while sober is a test of patience. The drunken man exists on a mental plane far apart from the sober man. His freewheeling speech and brazen antics become unwelcome provocations on your limited patience. Some men become aggressive while drinking, and though I consider this to be an exceptional circumstance, their presence can often sour a night out.

No more is the sexual Pareto principle in effect than in Isla Vista. I can imagine it has only gotten worse with the advent of online hookup apps. The top ten to twenty percent of young men in regards to appearance and reputation have unlimited access to the affections of the young college girls populating the town. In a place known for its laid back culture and open-mindedness, the competition for sex is a constant Pyrrhic war of deception and deceit.

Your status as a young man is proportional to your sexual desirability. Young men do not compete so much for economic or scholastic achievement, as they do for the favors of women. Even the perception, manufactured or legitimate, of sexual prowess among your peers is enough to catapult you into the upper echelons of social status. Men want to be you; women want to be with you. The former case inspires an effete, but caustic jealously among your male peers. Those unable to compete with you in the extended domain of struggle are hell-bent on hindering you, damaging your reputation and dragging you down with them into the mired pits of involuntary celibacy.

French philosopher Jean Baudrillard wrote that in Santa Barbara, the question you always hear is, “What are you doing after the orgy?” To paraphrase from a friend on Twitter, Elliot Rodger asked us, “What are you doing when you are not invited to the orgy?” During my time in Isla Vista, I arrived at the inevitable conclusion that violence would one day come to this town. Someday, someone would snap under the immense psycho-sexual burden bearing down on them and lash out against man and woman alike.

Elliot Rodger was a victim of Isla Vista, as much as those whom he killed were victims of his unfulfilled desire and rage against a society that enables unchecked lust and hedonism. While I must profess that, for the sake of public record, I do not endorse his murders; I understand completely the unfortunate series of events that led to their occurrence. Reading through My Twisted World, one comes to comprehend the entirely foreseeable and deterministic character of his birth and upbringing. What the media, in all their faux outrage seems to have missed, was how a young man of his breeding and background would invariably choose the fatal path he walked.

Elliot was born of an East Asian mother and a Northern European father, creating at birth the genetic aberration of the Eurasian or Hapa male. The Hapa is a castaway Frankenstein monster of East and West, a byproduct of mass transit and globalization unfairly rejected by both of his disparate cultures. The sexual marketplace of Isla Vista predominately favors those of the tall, fair Nordic phenotype. The ‘surfer dude’ of California is in fact a blond, blue-eyed male of impressive stature and physique. At the outset, Elliot was unsuited to his future life in Isla Vista. This, coupled with a detached father figure and an isolated adolescence, would portend his eventual rejections and untimely demise.

While race is seldom a deciding factor in one’s fate, one can often internalize unwanted or undesirable aspects pertaining to their racial phenotype. The rejection that hurt Elliot the most was not at the hands of any girl, but the initial and lifelong rejection of Elliot by his father. Fathers want to see themselves reflected in the visage of their sons, an insurance of their reproductive success. It is likely this phenomenon that underscores the primeval demands for marital fidelity and unspoiled brides. Fathers have yet to learn, if possible, to empathize with the biological results of their interracial pairings.

Sorrow’s Furnace

tfw no gw
>tfw no gw

The word nostalgia was once used to describe the homesickness felt by soldiers deployed abroad in the vast colonial lands of Europe. Nostalgia was treated as a medical condition, an excess of black bile causing an acute melancholy in those who suffered from it. Today, nostalgia refers to a longing for the recent past, a contracting span of time shrinking with each passing year. Decades are reduced to curated pop culture selections and sold back to us as if buying them could somehow take us back in time. We do not long for home anymore but the films, music, and video games of our youth.

When Americans are not arguing about politics or divulging our health issues to strangers, we are talking about pop culture. Film, music, and video games act as the cultural waypoints by which we navigate the desolate wilderness of our own hyperreality. With nothing in common other than a vague, fading sense of national identity, we form friendships and communities around these mutual interests. High school cliques originate in part from one’s preferred media selections: those who watch sports, those who listen to hip hop, those who play World of Warcraft (though the football teams of my day seemed to secretly share an interest in all three).

I spent the better part of middle school in the fictional land of Tyria, the setting for ArenaNet’s 2005 online role-playing game Guild Wars. Guild Wars was structured much in the same way as World of Warcraft and Everquest, though it borrowed the best elements from each and eschewed many of the typical MMORPG norms that made its contemporaries such a chore to play.

Gone were the long hours of endlessly grinding for levels and rare items: Guild Wars put its players on relatively equal footing in regards to experience and gear. Success in player-versus-player content, a core component of the game, often came down to team composition and player skill. The game consumed hundreds of hours of my youth, yet eleven years later I find myself without a shred of regret.

Growing up in a southern California exurb leaves you with limited options for entertainment. These towns were built for families working in Los Angeles and function solely as places to sleep at night before beginning another two hour commute the next morning on the 5 Freeway. When you are young and unable to drive a car, your very existence is limited to school and home. There were no kids on my street growing up and my extended family had long since left the state. Outside of school, there wasn’t much to do.

I used to regret spending so much of my childhood immersed in virtual worlds. I was told the days and weeks I put into playing video games were a waste of time. Looking back now, I empathize more with my situation. What else was I supposed to do? My family scarcely went on vacation or took weekend trips. Every vacation I remember was ruined because of some logistical error or grand, week-long argument. It was a relief to return home for the summer, even more of a relief when school started.

Guild Wars was, more than any game I have ever played, an escape from the mundanity of my younger years. I convinced my friends from school to start playing and within a few months we had a functioning guild. After class we would rush home, log on, and put each other on speaker phone while completing quests and missions.

MMORPGs have a trope called the “holy trinity” which consists of a tank, a healer, and a DPS. The tank mans the frontlines, absorbing enemy hits while the healer keeps him alive and the DPS does damage. I played Warrior in Guild Wars (the original tank profession) and my two friends played Monk (a healing profession) and Elementalist (a spellcasting DPS profession) respectively. Together we explored and conquered Tyria, from the frigid Shiverpeaks to the dense jungles of Maguuma.

The game was for us the adventure we lacked in our young lives. Boys are supposed to play in the woods, get into fights, and generally cause mischief. In our real world of helicopter parents, bureaucratic school administrations, and overbearing government, we have to increasingly seek virtual means to fulfill that which is innate in our sex. Sports and video games, the two remaining outlets for a boy’s competitive nature, provide some relief. But in a repressive culture without some higher calling, some higher purpose, they are ultimately substitutes for more worthwhile endeavors.

By the time the second expansion Nightfall was released, my friends and I had moved on. The guild that we had started was full of inactive players and the cities and outposts throughout the game world grew empty. Though the servers are still active today, returning to the game leaves you with a vague sense of unease. Hardly anyone still plays these days. The communities that were formed within the game have disbanded and gone their separate ways. The sense of uneasiness I felt was only shared upon returning home from college the first time: the town I grew up in strangely devoid of life, the majority of the people I used to know having left for greener pastures.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Guild Wars would be the start of my interaction with others online. MMORPGs predated social media and were how you used to talk to your friends over the Internet. The barrier to entry kept people who didn’t share your hobby offline watching MTV or whatever it was normal kids did those days. For a while, the Internet was a paradise for those who played video games. Almost everyone who spent their free time on the computer was just like you. We were a part of something that will never be experienced again.

What will happen to these virtual communities when they eventually cease to exist, when the servers are shut down and the worlds we grew up in vanish? We’ll be left with memories of times and places, real in a sense to those who remember them but virtual nonetheless. The Internet once provided us a window to vast, fantastic virtual lands when our own reality wasn’t much to look at. Now all we see are the very reflections of our hideous reality in the social media sites and advertisements that have colonized the Web.

I suppose you really can’t go home again.