Thimbron

June 8, 2020

The Voice of Trilema

Filed under: bitcoin, irc, rhetoric — thimbronion @ 5:52 p.m.

Now that I’ve been reading Trilema (successfully or not) for about six years, I thought I’d take some time to comment on the style and voice of the English portion of the the blog.

His voice is distinctive in many ways, but some of the distinctive features that most stand out to me are mircea_popescu’s frequent use of the 2nd person and the the use of graphic sexual metaphor to illustrate many, many concepts.

Given the prominence of this person in his writing, it wouldn’t be a waste of time to think a little bit about who exactly is “you.”

Is it really me, the person reading? In many cases yes, if I go by his qualifications - those usually being something along the lines of either not having read some text or not having some particular thought on my own by my late teens. The interesting thing is, after time, if I come back and read an article again, the “you” is less and less me, and more someone else, and the article begins to feel off - because I’ve likely read the text or internalized the thought by that point.

Whoever the “you” is, mircea_popescu in this voice at least plainly holds the reader in contempt. I think this is intended as a form of rhetoric. In other words he’s using this voice to evoke particular emotions in the reader for persuasive purposes. Whoever the reader is he is in a miserable state and is absolutely responsible for being in this state and is responsible as well for his parents and grandparents sucking and so forth. There is no quarter given, without exception, except perhaps to those who realize their worthlessness and die either by their own hand or in some highly risky endeavor1. Now I have to be careful here because I know it’s impossible to know what someone else is thinking, and I certainly don’t want to appear to be making that claim. I am only speculating. In any case, I speculate that the intended effect of this use of rhetoric is to arouse a feeling of shame. Shame is painful. “You” are to be spurred on by this pain. “You” are to do whatever is necessary to deal with the pain. In my observations of some others reading Trilema, this pain turns them immediately away and they never come back. Others, such as myself, somehow either become addicted to the pain, or perhaps keep reading on to find some sort of salvation from it2.

As for the frequent use of graphic sexual metaphor mircea_popescu himself explains why he prefers this style. I suspect this rhetoric also is meant to instill pain in many readers, and perhaps levity in others. Either way it is memorable, and I can’t think of any other writer using sexual metaphor to this extent.

Another aspect of his style that I’d like to comment on is the … finality, the unforgivingness. Read any article and there is a very good chance he’ll make you aware of a mistake you’ve made that can never, ever be corrected, only regretted. It is interesting to contrast this with other writers in the Anglosphere today, where there is endless redemption to be found.

And while there is doubtless much more to be said, this is all my cup of chai will allow me to put forth today.

  1. Not that it matters but I don’t particularly disagree with this attitude []
  2. Pain itself in various forms is a major theme in Trilema articles and it makes sense that given the significance of pain’s role in mp’s thoughts on education, reading Trilema itself would be painful []

5 Comments »

  1. There is indeed the pain but also the joy, the laughter, the pleasure, the feeling of validation, the support, if not of one's own salvation, at for salvation of something/one or anything at all. The respite from the endless shit everywhere. The inner peace from seeing justice, hope and rightness prevail. Even if we personally individually are only to regret, the world isnt't yet dead, assuming for a moment that trilema's world is this and the same. Everything would be much sadder, the world much darker still if not only we sucked but suckage was universal.

    The pain is the education is the seeing the world through better eyes the we could ever have otherwise. Schrödinger's curious cat died, but it died knowing ! Was it the dying or the knowing that was so enticing. How much of one could there be without the other ? Mere love of the pain couldn't be reason enough.

    There's also naturally a trilema on precisely why people read trilema instead of celebrating the new year or doing all sorts of other things: http://trilema.com/2019/i-dont-get-it/

    If the man himself doesn't get it... What can you do ? :p

    Comment by brendafdez — June 8, 2020 @ 11:37 p.m.

  2. I can see it.

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — June 9, 2020 @ 1:32 a.m.

  3. Well said, brendafdez.

    Comment by thimbronion — June 9, 2020 @ 2:49 p.m.

  4. In other gah, selection doesn't work.

    Comment by Mircea Popescu — June 10, 2020 @ 4:15 p.m.

  5. Mircea Popescu this works in my browser, for example: http://thimbron.com/2020/06/the-voice-of-trilema/#selection-31.0-31.316.

    Comment by thimbronion — June 10, 2020 @ 4:38 p.m.

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