23 November 2023

Elon Musk and his wacko beliefs

I recently heard an interview by Molly Jong-Fast of Ben Mezrich, author of Breaking Twitter, an account of Elon Musk's foolish and malign buyout and subsequent near-total destruction of Twitter. Before this, I had wondered what could make someone like Musk, who is undeniably brilliant at some things, having made a fortune from Paypal, and founded and made really quite spectacular successes of SpaceX and Tesla (not to mention Starlink)... into such a total shit. Pardon my French. But, alt right nutjob, anti-semite, racist, anti-democracy oligarch, conspiracy theorist.... none of those is unfair to him and all are largely true. So what insight did Mezrich offer? Seems that, like Peter Thiel and Ray Kurzweil, Musk believes in the singularity.  (Kurzweil, at least, doesn't share the others' right wing politics). And Musk believes in the logic explored in the world of ideas by people like Sean Carroll and Max Tegmark, i.e., that it is "more likely than not" that what we perceive as reality is actually a simulation. If this concept is unfamiliar to you, you might want to look it up. It's wild. And, although I can only offer my instinctive reaction, I'm nearly certain it's just plain wrong. 

But that doesn't really explain what's wrong (spiritually and psychologically) with someone like Musk. And here's where Mezrich gives a further detail that I hadn't heard anywhere. Not only does Musk apparently believe that the whole universe is essentially a computer game, but he's crossed the line into believing that only he is real. He is the "player," the rest of us are just walk-ons. Bits and electrons in a great simulation of reality. The ultimate in malignant narcissism, mixed in a toxic brew with actual solipsism. (I'm thinking Trump would believe the same if he weren't too stupid to understand the concepts involved). 

Does this explanation comfort me? Hardly. Convinces me even more that this guy is dangerous as hell and that in the pretty near future his and other "supernational" players will have to be reined in. You can't give that much power to crazy people. 

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