Ascending the Tower – Episode II, Part 2: Reality Always Beats Virtual Reality

This week, we’re joined by AntiDem to finish off the previous discussion with part 2, Episode II of Ascending the Tower.

Brought to you by Surviving Babel and Nick B. Steves, Ascending the Tower is a podcast distributed by Social Matter and represents the latest project of the Hestia Society. Please leave feedback in the comments, and if you’d like to get in touch with Surviving Babel, you can find him at:

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  1. At around 28:00 in the podcast, what is the first example given for the personification of a crab? I believe AntiDem says “Nan” but I can’t seem to find out exactly what he’s referring to based potentially on my butchering of the word he used.

    Any help?

  2. “Personification of Gnon is a crab” (Not nan, which is a type of bread.)

    1. Google “Gnon” and you will quickly find the relevant information. Sorry about that. Sometimes our conversations are a little more in-group than we aim for.

      1. Thank you, I wasn’t sure if I heard correctly or not. (Interesting to me nonetheless)

  3. At about 19 minutes and 15 seconds into the podcast, Nick B. Steves was discussing Mr. Alexander and the acceptance of normative principles. As a Neoreactionary with a very atypical personality, I have come to see the value of normative principles myself. Though I have a distaste for most of the common forms of degeneracy, I accept that my lifestyle is (somewhat) abnormal because I am so eccentric and unusual. I am an INTP with a schizoid personality; I am a loner with a few (close) friends, who spends a lot of time passively observing the world, trying to learn all that he can about it. I do not intend to marry or have children, and I tend to lack social ambition; however, I am not terribly bothered by any of this. I realize that my lifestyle would not provide most people with contentment or fulfillment; my lifestyle is abnormal, which is why it will not work for most people. Mr. Alexander (and others from LessWrong) could choose to hold a similar position on normative principles.

  4. Robert Plant's Head Voice March 1, 2015 at 2:48 pm

    Some ideas I enjoyed listening to you discuss:

    Antidem channeling Aristotle on poets and artists. Approximate quote: “it is poets who can make bad ideas seem beautiful, who can make awful ideas seem not only realistic but wonderful, and it’s really easy to deceive people with utopian ideas.” Art must be guided by a system of morality — as perhaps must be all things.

    The “No True Communist (Scotsman)” argument and the spectacular failure modes of Communism — reminiscent of a podcast I heard with Nassim Taleb, in which he spoke about the importance of looking at not only probability of failure but also the severity of the failure mode(s). In the case of communism, high probability of failure with high severity of consequence! Not worth the risk. Don’t “do it harder;” don’t do it at all…

    The left’s unfalsifiable claims are like the central truths around which a cult organizes and which motivates the cult’s existence; for the cultist these truths are both self-evident and unquestionable, thus axiomatic. They are not up for discussion. This seems like a useful framework for understanding many of the leftist’s responses to criticism.

    I also really liked the phrase, “applied hypocrisy.”

    Good ‘cast, thanks! (SB I think you might want to turn down the gain on your microphone, it sounds like it is clipping frequently.)

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