Hyper-Fragility

I recently engaged three individuals for whom their sense of self was dependent on some fragile beliefs, and they went against their principles when presented with a good faith challenge to those beliefs—a good faith challenge they had invited. Although I have experienced this phenomenon thousands of times, none of the usual words seemed appropriate this time because these individuals seemed fundamentally different than previous examples, which is probably because I had known them online for a few years. I now suspect that many others I have encountered only briefly were similar, but that I had only seen the worst side of them.

Fragility

After a few days of thought, I have developed what I have found to be a useful term for this phenomenon. I call it, “hyper-fragility”. I was inspired by two previous terms “fragile communism”, which made sense, but for which I had not found a use, and “white fragility”, which was itself clearly the product of fragility. So I had no use for such terminology, until now.

A faction or individual is fragile to the extent they have abandoned principle in their defense of a belief that is fragile and which they have incorporated into their sense of self. A belief is fragile to the extent it cannot be defended with reason.

As a contrast, science is anti-fragile. Real scientists will want to know when they hold a fragile belief, and they will actually help you in your effort to challenge their beliefs. They will not abandon their principles if their belief does not hold up.

One is a real scientist if one adheres to the philosophy of science. There is no other criteria to be a real scientist. To be clear, science as a profession has abandoned the philosophy of science and has become hyper-fragile. It is thus paramount that one not confuse real scientists, who are usually not professional “scientists”, with fake scientists, who are usually professional “scientists”.

In simple terms, fragiles portray themselves as victims when they are not. For a given a context, there may be no victim, fragiles may be the initiators of aggression, or fragiles may possess overwhelming physical power, but in all cases, they portray themselves as the victims. Fragiles also expect special treatment and are butthurt when they don’t get it. Fragiles also cling to at least one belief that they cannot defend with reason, but which is core to their sense of self and well-being. Threats to such beliefs are perceived as existential threats. Hyper-fragiles will abandon their principles to defend their fragile beliefs.

Regional hyper-fragility will often develop its own linguistics. Such linguistics in California would be known as: HYPER-CALI-FRAGILISTICS.

Did I mention that fragiles have no sense of humor about their fragile beliefs?

Why analyze fragility

Everyone wants to be the best version of themselves. No one wants to be fragile. However, as of first writing, most will have never heard anything like this analysis.

Everyone can benefit from such an analysis. I, myself, will refer to this analysis many times going forward to help me avoid being fragile. It is just another tool to help one find the path and stay on the path.

This analysis is also a tool that empowers us to help others find the path and stay on the path.

What I mean by “the path” is the path to the best version of yourself.

What I mean by the best version of yourself is your future self that has achieved your best character, which is objective and is thus the same for everyone.

It is what every little boy wants to be when he grows up, and in the end, what every man wishes he had been.

In the end, it is the things you didn’t do that you’ll regret most.

Detailed characteristics

As we examine the detailed characteristics of the hyper-fragile, it may help to imagine whether these ring true for the best examples of hyper-fragility you have encountered.

It would help if such examples were fresh in your mind, but you may not have any recent examples because one who is resilient tends to avoid engaging the fragile, and the fragile tend to avoid engaging the resilient. The fragile also tend to avoid engaging fragiles in other tribes.

If you don’t have a good example of your own, you can imagine my example as you read the list of characteristics.

Imagine three people who are in some ways exceptional, but are in other ways hyper-fragile, trying to convince you that they are intellectually, morally, and spiritually elite compared to you, but their intellect, morality, and spirituality is hyper-fragile, so in spite of their substantial research and doctrinal knowledge, they rely primarily on bullying and gaslighting, and they abandon most of their critical thinking skills.

What unites these three is their fervent quest for occult knowledge—usually in old texts, but also in more recent works, such as channeled prophecies. They measure one’s intellectual, moral, and spiritual status by one’s knowledge and belief of occult material. They desperately crave the supernatural power and protection they believe it gives them.

Their hyper-fragile foundation could be loosely characterized as Gnosticism, creationism, Zionism, end-times prophecy, occult prophecy, occult knowledge, occult power, Trump, and Q-Anon. So …. Evangelicals obsessed with the occult. To be clear, one could (in theory) have these as part on one’s foundation and not be hyper-fragile.

Everything in the list describes their behavior except for attempting to explicitly punish me (as far as I know). One of them explicitly advocated genocide, mass murder, and assorted atrocities. One did not advocate it, but defended such actions as the right of the perpetrators. The other tried to shut down any criticism of the perpetrators.

They were not always like this (I think), but these are difficult times in which a critical mass is being played more effectively than ever before.

For more context, consider that I am the kind of person with whom anyone can easily collaborate in good faith. I can say with all sincerity that I love and forgive these individuals, and that I love everyone equally and I forgive all behavior.

By “love everyone”, I mean that I want to see everyone become the best version of themselves, and I am willing to make sacrifices to help them become the best version of themselves. In fact, I would be willing to be tortured for all eternity if it meant that everyone would become the best version of themselves.

By “forgive”, I mean that I wish no ill will and seek no retaliation.

However, these individuals (and countless others) have demonstrated that they are in a bad place and cannot be trusted. They obviously lack a solid intellectual, moral, and spiritual foundation. Therefore, they have no intellectual, moral, or spiritual authority. They are a poor example of the foundation they are promoting.

These are the individuals trying to convince me they are intellectually, morally, and spiritually elite compared to me.

Perhaps now, the characteristics I observed first hand will make more sense, but their enumeration—though extensive—is likely a small subset of a full hyper-fragile profile. There may be no limits to the behavior of the hyper-fragile.

Hyper-fragility can be contextual and compartmentalized. An individual can be hyper-fragile in one context and resilient in another.

In the context of a given fragile belief, a faction or individual is fragile to the extent they are willing to perpetrate or advocate any the following, and a hyper-fragile individual is anyone willing to perpetrate or advocate 90% of these:

  1. Intellectually hobbled
    1. They cannot defend their position with reason.
    2. They contradict themselves.
    3. Their most critical arguments contain one or more easily refuted critical errors.
    4. Their most critical arguments contain one or more critical logical fallacies.
    5. Their most critical beliefs are inconsistent with the foundation for those beliefs.
    6. They lack reading comprehension skills.
    7. They are unable to understand the arguments of one who challenges them in good faith.
    8. They lack the ability to estimate ballpark probabilities.
    9. They are unable to do simple math or logic when appropriate.
    10. They cannot access their subconscious.
    11. They cannot imagine counter examples.
    12. They have difficulty with nuance.
    13. They conflate multiple contexts.
    14. They switch contexts and think the new context is the original context.
    15. They claim that two different kinds of phenomenon are the same kind of phenomenon.
    16. They claim that two different magnitudes of the same kind of phenomenon are the same magnitude.
  2. Emotional
    1. They become emotional when challenged in good faith.
    2. They become offended or angered when challenged in good faith.
    3. They have difficulty evaluating the veracity of testimony.
    4. Jealous
    5. Fearful
    6. Easily butthurt
  3. They attack those who challenge them in good faith.
    1. They frequently misrepresent the beliefs or arguments of those who challenge them.
    2. They make a venomous attack that includes a toxic metaphorical statement that is harmless and irrelevant if taken literally, and then insist they only meant the harmless literal interpretation.
    3. They tell you what you think.
    4. They tell you your motives.
    5. They declare what you will do.
    6. They gish gallop.
    7. They obfuscate.
    8. They insult.
    9. They make unreasonable demands.
  4. Cheating, dishonest, unfair
    1. They cannot act in good faith in relation to their fragile beliefs.
    2. They become evasive when challenged in good faith.
    3. They are hypocritical. Their arguments don’t match their actions.
    4. They cannot be objective.
    5. They judge people collectively.
    6. They ignore the spectrum of probabilities and instead assign 0% or 100%.
    7. They have double standards for themselves and for you.
    8. They have double standards for those they like and those they dislike.
    9. They deny that they said what they said.
    10. They will try to stop certain questions from being asked or answered.
    11. They censor the most effective good faith arguments from their opposition.
    12. They delete their most incriminating statements without a retraction.
    13. Their speculation only has to have a .001% chance of being accurate; whereas, competing hypotheses must be 100% accurate.
  5. Tribal
    1. Virtue signaling
    2. Us-and-them attitude
    3. Partisan
    4. Petty
    5. Small-minded
    6. Quick to judge others as being outside their tribe.
    7. Quick to judge outsiders as acting in bad faith.
    8. Quick to judge outsiders as subhuman.
    9. Quick to judge outsiders as having inactive souls.
    10. Quick to judge outsiders as having no soul.
  6. Weak
    1. They lack self esteem.
    2. They are afraid to defend their positions.
    3. They are vulnerable to peer pressure.
    4. They can be influenced by propaganda.
    5. They do not try to steelman their arguments.
    6. They are susceptible to high anxiety.
    7. They are susceptible to PTSD.
    8. Easily fearful.
  7. Delusional
    1. They claim elite status or knowledge compared to one who challenges them.
    2. They make unnecessary assumptions.
    3. They engage in motivated reasoning.
    4. They think they can meme.
    5. They attribute motive where there is no motive.
    6. They deny motive where there is motive.
    7. They gaslight.
    8. Their investment advice ignores highly relevant information.
    9. They engage in magical thinking.
    10. They believe they have special powers, such as knowing what others think.
    11. If their magical thinking is proven wrong every time they try to reproduce it, they remain confident in their magical thinking.
    12. They champion absurdities found in occult texts.
    13. They champion absurdities found in sacred texts.
    14. They champion absurdities that directly contradict their sacred texts.
    15. They believe whatever they want to believe.
  8. Psychopaths
    1. They lack empathy.
    2. They can’t meme well (because it requires empathy).
    3. They scapegoat.
    4. They lack a sense of humor in relation to their fragile beliefs.
    5. They interpret the literal as metaphorical.
    6. They interpret the metaphorical or the satirical as literal.
    7. They see themselves as the victim when they are the aggressor.
  9. Anti-science
    1. They lack a nose for where to look.
    2. Their most critical positions are not falsifiable.
    3. They are vulnerable to confirmation bias.
    4. They add variables that are not relevant.
    5. They ignore variables that are relevant.
    6. They are not interested in learning that they are wrong.
    7. They attribute significant weight to irrelevant connections.
    8. They do not accept the burden of proof for their claims.
    9. They try to shift burden of proof for their claims onto those who challenge them in good faith.
    10. They treat their speculation as fact.
    11. They treat your hypotheses as speculation.
    12. As the scientific process gets closer to the truth, the hyper-fragile claim that such change discredits science.
    13. If scientists admit they don’t know something yet, the hyper-fragile portray that as a failure of science.
    14. If scientists find an abundance of evidence that is sufficient to explain an extraordinary hypothesis, but they admit that more complete evidence is theoretically possible, then the hyper-fragile will claim science has failed.
  10. Sociopaths
    1. They initiate aggression.
    2. They advocate atrocities.
    3. They try to punish those who disagree with them. (Observed in other hyper-fragiles. Not observed in these three.)
    4. They report those who disagree to another party who will punish them.
    5. They invite the whole world (e.g. by doxxing) to punish those who disagree.

The degree to which the strongest defenders of a faction exhibit the characteristics of hyper-fragility is the extent to which that faction is probably in error.

In many ways, hyper-fragility is the opposite of science.

How to interact with the hyper-fragile

The hyper fragile are like a slow motion train wreck. Their downward spiral can be painful to watch.

They have been played. Their life has become theater. They are not what they claim to be.

Naturally, real people want to help them.

You might imagine it would help to call out their abandonment of principles, or to use one of their techniques against them—just once—just so they can better empathize with others. However, in my experience, any salutary effect from such therapeutics is short-lived because the hyper-fragile are highly motivated to find a way to double down, and they will only become more aggressive the longer you engage them.

Watching the hyper-fragile can be painful—especially if you know them.

However, the hyper-fragile have much in common with psychopaths and sociopaths, so it is usually best to stay off their radar screen.

Difficult times

These are difficult times—by design—and humanity is on a downward trajectory.

Everyone is being played. The Apex Players are trying to make everyone dislike, distrust, and distance each other, so that we are looking at each other instead of looking at them, and so that we cannot unite against them.

The Apex Players are only in the early stages of their end game, and yet, I observed that some ostensibly resilient individuals had already become hyper-fragile as early as Autumn 2022. By this writing (April 2024), the number hanging by a very thin thread has been growing—slowly, but exponentially.

The hyper-fragile are useful idiots for the Apex Players, and they want to drag you into their downward spiral.

Work in progress

This is still a work in progress. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

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