If You Want to Find Truth You Need to Step Into Cringe

Link post

This is the script of the Rational Animations video linked above, with a few minor edits and additions. I really like how the animations came out in this one, so if you are curious follow the link. If you only care about the arguments you can just read. Most of the images here are taken from the video.

If you honestly seek truth, and if you decide to tell the truth, at some point, you will accept to appear cringe to the eyes of most people. Why is that? Simply because truth may be cringe means that at some point, you will encounter a truth that other people are disgusted by, and if you decide to tell it, you will be associated with cringe.

Is it a necessity for at least some truths to be cringe, though? If that was not the case, the laws of the scientific method and of rationality would prescribe to avoid disgusting hypotheses. But our best guess on how to approach truth is to ask reality itself, not our social norms.

Truth doesn’t seem to correlate much with cringe, especially if we consider truths that are difficult to attain. In fact, there is an exception for those truths that are necessary for survival: I expect those truths not to be cringe in basically every culture.

The picture looks more or less like this: truths necessary for survival are a subset of non-cringe statements, while other truths intersect with both cringe and non-cringe statements similarly.

When seeking truth, you shouldn’t worry about if the truths you are discovering would be laughed at and scoffed at if said aloud. You would be like a swordsman who keeps glancing away to see if anyone might be laughing at him. Doing so makes you waste time, and it makes you move or withdraw for the wrong reasons.

What happens if you look away

The acceptance of cringe is one of the marks of a truth seeker. Keeping this fact at the forefront of your mind is helpful for not straying from the truth.

The good news is that there are probably good ways to mitigate social repercussions without relinquishing truth-telling. For example, if you act and state your beliefs confidently, other people will usually see you in a more positive light. You act as if you were high… on your social hierarchy. And this confidence will positively affect the image other people will form about you. I’m not saying that this matters in any way to the actual truth, though. It just matters to people.

Being cringe doesn’t only happen when seeking truth but also when acting on your discoveries and pursuing your objectives. Seeking truth is often helpful to take the best course of action in life. If you forego a critical decision because you are afraid that other people will judge you, you will lose.

To appreciate how distant the feeling of “cringe” is from actual reality, you may observe when exactly people are cringing. It’s often the case that the rules of what is cringe and what is not change based on your level of physical attraction, net worth, social status, or how confidently you act. And none of these parameters have anything to do with the actual reality of what is true and what is convenient for you to pursue.

Different people may perform the same action for the same reasons, and yet they may be judged differently for entirely unrelated and superficial reasons.

Let’s observe a few concrete examples of this. It is not difficult because it’s [current year], and we have a whole culture based on scorn and cringe, which I have observed to be on the rise since at least 2013. The front page of Reddit sometimes says it all, with subs entirely for this purpose getting site-wide appreciation.

Let’s watch a few frames of the famous Filthy Frank’s song “I am a Weeaboo” [37M views...].

Ok, I’ll just use one frame for each paragraph here. If you want to see more, go to the Filthy Frank video or to Rational Animations’.

Are these people cringe because they are weeaboos? If you are answering yes, here more of them.

Now, these people have in common the fact that they are weeaboos, don’t they? But there is also another thing they have in common. Can you guess what it is?

It is the fact that they are overweight and ugly according to societal standards. In the viewer’s mind, this alone makes these people at the bottom of their social hierarchy. And seeing someone at the bottom of a social hierarchy generates disgust. And disgust makes people want to create distance between themselves and the object of disgust. If the people in those images were prettier, there would be no disgust or secondhand embarrassment. In this case, the feeling of cringe comes from the unattractiveness, not from the weebness. Attractive girls or guys in cosplay do not get the scorn these people are getting. Nor Elon Musk, the most successful weeb in the world, gets it.

Genius, billionaire, weeb, galaxy brain on Twitter

Actual weeaboos who partake in this culture of scorn will themselves call other weeaboos “cringe” because they have learned that weeaboos are cringe through socially manufactured pattern matching. They will want to put distance between themselves and other weeaboos to pretend they are higher in their social hierarchy. But all of this is so 2015; insulting weeaboos is passé now. The targets have changed in 2021. Now we have TikTok kids, for example.

Btw, here’s what happens if you go against the hive mind:

Imperial Japan may or may not know his history, but he’s not wrong about the fact that being a weeb isn’t bad. Plus, is it wrong to have an obsession with imperial japan? People like to find moral flaws in you only when it is convenient for them. If they want to find excuses to bully you, for example. In this case, the narrative is “imperial japan bad”, in another context it could have easily been “Wow, you really took an interest in history, huh? We need more people like you, history is important”.

I just see people who are honestly pursuing their interests, and yet everyone bullies them. The stated reason is that they are weeaboos, but the real reason is good old ugliness.

The fact that being a weeaboo has been associated with cringe is something that only exists in social reality, and it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be a weeaboo. The affect heuristic and the halo effect are also relevant here. I have talked about them in a previous video. These effects are such that the ugliness spills over and makes people have a generally worse opinion of the ugly individual’s other characteristics. Therefore if you associate weeb with ugly and bottom of social hierarchy, weeb becomes automatically bad.

But what does all this weeaboo rant have to do with pursuing the truth? It’s simple. In this case, if you followed social norms, you would deny the truth about if you like anime or not, and you would pursue something else that would make you less happy. Don’t let other people decide for you what you like or what you do not like. What you like is a truth about your mind, and in principle, it is no different from truths about the world outside of it. Your mind is part of the world, after all, even if you have easier access to it than everyone else. Take this weeaboo thing as just an example. Remember it each time you are tempted to deny the reality of the world or of yourself because other people don’t like that reality or have associated it with things they do not like.

Cringe is based on disgust. You act on it because of social hierarchies. Acknowledge these feelings and then disregard them.

This meme is not in the video, but I really liked it when I found it.

Social norms are built upon strata of lies that float above reality. If you really want the truth, you will only look at reality itself.

Bob looking at reality, after having crawled beneath all the social lies. This video features Bob extensively (his first appearance is in the Bitcoin video of course, together with Alice and Doge).

[I realized too late that the last phrase is exaggerated. Clearly, not all social norms are built upon lies, but the kinds I’m talking about here are.]