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Sympathy for the Drow - De-Vilifying the Dark Elves

The "Evil" races in DnD have always rubbed me kinda the wrong way. Partly once I learned that a lot of them come from racist stereotypes (Orcs, Drow, and Goblins in particular) and also just because it doesn't make sense to me. Even Nazi Germany had variation and dissenters and it only lasted for 12 years. Why would a clearly evil society never change over hundreds of years? In my opinion, a story is only as good as it's villains. So, I've set out to try and make the traditionally evil races slightly more believable and even sympathetic in places.
Now, I've not been a DM very long, only like three years. But the first campaign I ever ran was through Curse of Strahd which paints the Vistani (an itinerant society heavily based on the real world Romani) as a conniving group of thieves, murders, and vampire-worshipers. Thankfully, I found through reddit and other sites how to steer away from the racists depictions of the Vistani and making them seem like, at worst, opportunists. So, I hope to be able to do that with some other of the classic DnD antagonist races.
I've read some other phenomenal post on here about evil races that totally inspired me as well. There's a great two part post about Decolonizing D&D which I adore. The post about alignment is easily my favorite. There's a couple great ones on Orcs and Yuan-Ti too so if some of my ideas are lifted from them, I hope y'all consider it flattery instead of theft. So, here are some primer notes before I get into it.
For creating the Dark Elves, I tried to keep as much as I could from the books. Obviously some stuff has to get thrown out the window though. I also tried to standardize calling them Dark Elves instead of Drow partly because I feel like Drow has a much nastier sound to it and calling them Dark Elves follows the naming convention with the High and Wood Elves. I tried to model them after real-life matriarchal societies like the Mosuo people of China and their pantheon after real deities like the Greeks, Romans, and Norse. I also quickly realized that building a society is inseparable from geography. Where a people are from effects their language, values, mythology, history, and family structure. I've tried to outline details I think are necessary to making this society realistic while leaving it open ended enough to be place-able in different worlds with relative ease. All that aside, lets get into the meat of it.

The Dark Elves: Elven Outcasts

The Elves are a varied and magical people that come from many planes and many environments within them. But none are met with more distrust and fear than the Dark Elves. Easily set apart from their cousins by their charcoal or pitch-black skin, pink-red eyes, hair of grays and whites, and shorter stature, these people have earned a reputation as killers, thieves, demon worshipers, and liars. But history is a cruel mistress, something the Dark Elves know better than most.

The Divine Divide

As the legends go, when the world was still young, Corellon Larethian lived on the Plane of Arvandor with his fellow Primal Elves. They were wild and mutable, emotional and free in all things. They changed shapes at will, gave and took freely to and from the world, and never stayed in any location too long. They wandered to and fro, scattering their peoples across almost every plane. However, this unbridled freedom was not without a price. Arguments, feuds, and small scale wars were incredibly common between them. Some elves would find themselves stranded on far off planes after most of their companions impulsively decided to leave. Their self serving impulses drove them to often completely disregard the needs or wants of others if they went against their own desires. And their reckless revelry was wreaking havoc on the natural world with Elven parties decimating whole planes of edible plants, wild game, and drinkable water.
One such Primal Elf began to see the destruction of their ways and talked to other elves about their actions. Slowly, this Elf by the name of Lolth amassed a small following of devotees that saw the negative ramifications of their inconsiderate freedom. Lolth and her followers agreed to take on fixed forms to show recognition of the dangers that impulsivity could bring. Lolth led this small group of devotees to Corellon to ask for his support. Now, Corellon did not lead these Primal Elves: he was just as wild as the best of them and did not take kindly to others telling him what to do. But he was the First Elf ever born and was universally respected amongst the Primal Elves and if Lolth could convince him, others would surely follow. Corellon listened to her proposition and agreed that they should change to prevent more destruction and conflict, but refused to order his kinsfolk into any action. He was an Elf, same as all of them, and he wouldn’t dare order around his family. He balked when Lolth asked him to take a concrete form as a show of solidarity and brushed her off as a killjoy.
Lolth was unsatisfied with this outcome and her following set out to convince each Elf to change their ways to preserve the beauty of the worlds. However, without the support of Corellon, many elves refused her offer. Her anger grew with each failure and her opinion of Corellon turned sour, something she made no attempt to hide from her Elven siblings. Now, Corellon is a proud god and once he caught wind that Lolth was bad mouthing him in an attempt to win over others, he became enraged. He railed against Lolth calling her a snake-tongued thief and Lolth called him incompetent and cruel. Their tempers flared and all the elves chose sides between Corellon’s freedom and Lolth’s stability. During this great debate, the Primal Elves turned to violence. The Dark Elves maintain that Corellon’s side threw the first blow, while the High Elves claim that it came from Lolth’s side.
No matter the source, this violent outburst soured relations between Lolth and Corellon forever after. He cast her and her followers out of Arvandor and barred her from ever returning. He also cast all but his most trusted kin from Arvandor, forcing them all to live lives on other worlds out of fear of another perceived insurrection. Thus, the Seldarine remain in Arvandor to judge the souls of Corellon’s faithful when they die and Lolth takes refuge in Arcadia with her pantheon where she minds the souls of the Drow. Corellon’s faithful call her pantheon the Dark Seldarine, while her faithful call it the Myrkalfar.

Myrkalfar: The Spider Mother’s House

Lolth the Spider Queen is the unquestioned head of the Myrkalfar, with all other deities seen as her divine family. Lolth is considered at times to be fickle or even cruel, but her ire is never gained without good reason. A very involved deity, her followers constantly search for signs of her favor or scorn in everyday life. When a Dark Elf contemplates a risky or controversial decision, they consult priestesses or perform their own rites which often gives them direct and succinct answers. She serves as an example to matriarchs of Drow families as demanding yet understanding, punishing yet guiding. She asks for a lot of her priestesses, demanding they be an unflinching example of everything a strong leader should be. The Myrkalfar is often presented as a divine household, with Lolth as the matron.
Keptolo is the consort of Lolth and considered to be the ideal of what a male should be. Beautiful and kind, strong and hard working, he helps Lolth in everything she does. Sometimes he serves as a messenger, other times as an agent of redemption, sometimes as a divine healer. When a Dark Elf is tasked with a divine charge, he is usually the one to deliver the message and guide them through their charge. He serves also as a fertility deity and is often worshiped by women or men seeking a child. Outsiders see him as a weak and subservient husband to Lolth, but his faithfulness to his matron is considered a virtue and his status as a “husband” is relatively alien to the Dark Elves as they have no binding marriage in their society.
If Keptolo is the agent of Lolth’s mercy, Kiaransalee is the agent of her vengeance. She is the eldest daughter of Lolth and Keptolo and one that Dark Elves pray to when they feel wronged. Only the most binding and serious contracts are signed under her name. To break an oath made under her name is sure to bring destruction. She is also the governor of the dead, judging the souls of those passed in the afterlife. She opposes the mindless undead created by mortals, but spirits and revenants that return to finish unresolved business amongst the living are considered under her protection. Should a Dark Elf encounter a returned spirit that is seeking vengeance, it’s their duty to leave them on their way and pray that the spirit isn’t there for them. This reverence of certain undead is something many outsiders consider downright evil.
Selvetarm is the Dark Elven warrior goddess and youngest daughter of Lolth. Often depicted with eight arms, she represents the pinnacle of hand to hand martial prowess, but often is without restraint. She serves as both an inspiration for warriors, and a warning. Vhaeraun is the eldest son of Lolth and governs ambition and stealth. Both of these traits are not necessarily vilified, but worship of him is highly scrutinized. Haughty and rash, tales of him often include deceiving his fellow gods for good and ill and more often than not are cautionary ones. He’s depicted as wearing a mask, either as some punishment for endangering Lolth and her family or to hide his identity for various schemes, possibly both.
Malyk is Lolth’s youngest son and a youthful deity of change and growth. He’s often seen as a bouncing young boy that Lolth and her family have to reign in from wild misadventures. His freedom and curiosity is often seen as a double edged sword, both gaining him great riches but also putting him in tremendous peril. He has strong ties to sorcerers and when a child is born with innate magical talent, he is often the one thanked for it. He serves as an outlet for a Dark Elves youthful chaotic nature, but also warns them of the ramifications of their actions.
Ghaunadur is a strange figure in the pantheon. Their place in the family is a bit of a mystery, sometimes called the sibling of Lolth, or her child, or even as Lolth’s parent. What makes them truly unique is that they are a formless deity, something that Lolth once warred with Corellon over. The legends go that when Ghaunadur joined Lolth, they refused to give up their changeable nature. When questioned, Ghaunadur pointed to the slimes, oozes, and formless creatures of the world and said that they wished to protect them from the Elves and the Elves from them. Lolth agreed, cementing their position as the deity of the changing forms of nature. Their favored creature is the ooze, but they govern all natural creatures. Dark Elves often pray to Ghaunadur to protect them from the creatures that lurk in the depths of the forest.
Zinzerena is Lolth’s sister and is the goddess of poisons, illusions, and magic. Viewed as an elderly and patient figure, she often serves as council to Lolth in desperate times. She’s said to be the mother of all poisons and venoms and her teachings are all about finding the wisest solution to a problem. Zinzerena teaches that even though the spider is small, it’s bite can still fell a panther. Despite her perceived age, she’s considered the younger sister of Lolth and is thought to be incredibly quick and nimble: a reminder that not everything is as it seems.
Eilistraee is Lolth’s niece and daughter of Zinzerena. Considered the black sheep of the pantheon, she serves as a goddess of redemption and moonlight. Dark Elves that turn their back on their family or scorn traditions will sometimes find themselves turned to Driders, half-spider half-Dark Elf creatures shunned by all. Eilistraee is said to watch over these creatures and if they are repentant, offer them challenges that they could complete to redeem themselves. Lolth often views her with contempt or mistrust, but never hates her and maintains her place in the pantheon. Dark Elven faithful rarely worship her as the others. She’s also one of the only deities of the Myrkalfar to claim no animosity toward the Seldarine and their faithful.
Spiders are the sacred animal of Lolth and are often used as an example of social order and the importance of family bonds. Each strand of silk serves the web as whole. More literally, the giant spiders of the Underdark are multifaceted and incredibly useful creatures. Serving as beasts of burden, war steeds, meat producers, household guardians, and silk producers, they are present in almost every facet of society. Their silks are used in everything from wound dressings to armor to architecture. To kill or steal another family's spider is considered akin to stealing a member of the family. Smaller and more poisonous spiders are often kept in temples and their webs are used as divining tools for priestesses.

Elven Exiles

The recorded history of the Dark Elves is full of contradictions from High Elf and Dark Elf sources. What historians can agree on is when the Elves of the Prime Material arrived, the followers of Lolth secluded from their Wood and High cousins and retreated into the Azelarien, also known as the Green Sea in Common. A massive forest, nearly 1 million square miles of dense and vibrant trees, that grows denser and darker the farther in one ventures. For countless eons, the High, Wood, and Dark Elves lived in relative harmony in their own corner of the world. High Elves lived near the forests in towns and villages, the Wood Elves lived in the lightly forested outlands of the Green Sea, and the Dark Elves lived deep in the central forests which was so dense that very little light reached the forest floor.
As time passed and their villages turned to cities, the High Elves began expanding into the forest, chopping some down to build homes and heat their furnaces. This began pushing into the territory of the Wood Elves and eventually the Dark Elves as well. These two peoples formed a shaky alliance to push back the expansive tide of the far larger High Elven armies. This alliance proved successful however and the High Elven forces began losing ground. What happened next is a matter of some debate. High Elven historians attest that the Dark Elven armies used Wood Elven soldiers as unwitting bait to lure the High Elven armies into a trap, thus causing a schism between them. Dark Elven historians state that the Wood Elven armies turned on them after the Wood Elves met in secret with High Elven leaders and bargained for their independence. Some Wood Elven historians claim that after a brutal defeat on the field, they were met by High Elven dignitaries that offered them clemency if they turned on their allies. They initially refused, but after the dignitaries threatened to make the same offer to the Dark Elves, they had no choice but to accept. No matter the cause, the histories agree that the Wood Elves turned on their erstwhile allies and helped push the Dark Elves into a rapid loss of ground.
Facing the might of the two armies with their own relatively small one, the Dark Elves were beaten into a hasty retreat into their own territory. Losing every open encounter, the Dark Elf matrons developed a new strategy of combat. The armies switched from training as many as quickly as they could, to training only a select few in multiple different forms of combat and magic. As the High and Wood Elves advanced into their territory, they quickly found their supply lines cut out from under them, their soldiers ambushed while sleeping, their scouts captured, and their leaders assassinated. And even if they would make it to a Dark Elf settlement, they would find it abandoned and booby-trapped, warned by their fast and silent scouts. If the Dark Elves couldn’t face their enemies head-on, they would weaken them with quick and decisive strikes.
Eventually, the war ground to a stalemate. The High Elves couldn’t push into the Dark Elf territory far enough to capture any cities of note without taking severe casualties and the Dark Elves were only managing to hold the invading armies back and couldn’t muster a force strong enough to push back to the enemy capital. Thus, the war cooled into a tense peace. The leaders came together to draw borders, but neither side fully forgave nor forgot one another’s actions. High and Wood Elves viewed the change in tactics by the Dark Elves as an unethical violation of the standards of war. The Dark Elves felt a particular animosity toward the Wood Elves, considering them backstabbers in their darkest hour.

Dark Elf Families: Matrons of Order

The Dark Elf society, to an outsider, looks like an oppressive and cruel society of slave traders and backstabbers. But the truth is more subtle. The Dark Elves value tradition and filial piety above almost all else. To a Dark Elven citizen, their family name is their most valuable possession and they are taught from a very young age that to look after their parents and their younger siblings is the highest virtue. Ancestors that have achieved great things often have shrines in a household alongside the gods themselves. A Dark Elf going against the will of their family is considered one of the highest taboos and often causes them to be outcast from Dark Elven society as a whole. Dark Elf society is matrilineal meaning that the eldest woman in each family is revered as the household leader and receives great respect from her family and society. This also means that the males of the society don’t inherit wealth as frequently as the females.
Dark Elven families are quite large, often with multiple generations along with aunts, uncles, and cousins living in the same household. New children almost always reside with their mother. Males of the society are expected to care not for their own biological children, but for the children born to their sisters, aunts, or nieces. This results in a striking amount of sexual freedom for both men and women, but is often viewed from the outside as promiscuity. The Dark Elves do not marry in the traditional sense, instead favoring long term partners with one another that can end at any time with no concerns to material wealth or ownership.
However, to become a member of a Dark Elf family is not entirely a matter of heritage. When a family that cannot support another child has one, they are often adopted by more well to do families and raised as one of their own. These adopted children are considered just as legitimate as if they were born into the family. Also, should a family lose all their heirs or become destitute, they often ask to become assimilated into other families for their own safety. The latter is considered a morose ceremony as the members of the smaller family forsake their surnames. To take in such a family is both an extreme honor and grim burden, as it means ending another family's line.
The borders of Dark Elven civilization only goes so far as there are trees so many newer up and coming families have expanded underground, a difficult and slow endeavor. This has put multiple houses at odds with one another for territory. However, Dark Elves do not tolerate open hostility between families as they have a very strong sense of collective identity. Dark Elves do not war against fellow Dark Elves, same as a spider does not fight its own web. This leads to many tensions and conflicts needing to be resolved in other ways. Most families will attempt a diplomatic solution, but when that isn’t an option, sabotage and coercion is the favored outlet. Murder is considered a bridge too far by most houses, but subterfuge in almost every other facet is, while not accepted, tolerated.
Legends of Lolth’s rebellion and the tension of their enclosed territory have imbued the Dark Elves with a strong sense of symbiosis with nature and conservancy. Sustainable living is the cornerstone of Dark Elf society. In the wild, no creature is killed or plant destroyed unless it’s a matter of self defense or necessary to survival.

Dark Elven Sex and Gender

As with many Elven peoples, sexuality is seen as a fluid and non-binary matter. Same sex relationships are usually seen as just as acceptable as male-female relationships. Since Dark Elves have no marriage structure, same sex life partners are common and widely accepted. Inheritance is passed along by the family as a whole, not linearly, meaning some houses may have matrons with no direct biological descendants while still serving at the elder matron. Power dynamics in relationships are still a factor, with the elder female in a gay relationship considered slightly above their partner socially and is seen as the inheritor in cases of property or genealogy. Male same sex relationships are accepted with little controversy. Since children are passed down their mothers line, the males have no social obligation to sire an heir as with other societies.
Transgender and transexual Dark Elves are met with slightly more controversy. Lolth’s rejection of the Primal Elves mutable forms is sometimes cited against transgender and transexual Dark Elves. Ghaunadur, however, is considered the patron god of these people and teaches that just as they are part of nature, they can change their forms. Many of these people join the religious order of Ghaunadur, serving in various roles both in religious ceremonies and as forest guides. Some even consider them to be blessed by Ghaunadur and are highly sought after in forays into the forests for protection. Children born to transgender Dark Elves are still expected to be a part of their eldest mother’s family or eldest father if no woman is part of the union.

Slavery Amongst the Dark Elves

While the Dark Elves do take slaves, their slavery doesn’t look the same as many other societies. When a family becomes indebted to another and they cannot pay off the debt, a member of their family, usually male, will be sent to work for the owed family. They give him room and board and are expected to care for him as if he were one of their own. He’ll work for them for an agreed upon amount of time before returning to his native family. Injury or misuse of this person is often grounds for them to leave and the debt to be nullified. Children born to servant fathers needn’t worry about inheriting their father’s status since they’re considered to be their mother’s child. On the rare occasion that a female servant has a child while in servitude, the child is returned to the mother’s family to be raised by her family while she works off the remaining debt. Some trade of servants does occur between houses, with indentured servants being traded for goods or services or even other servants of special skills, but the family of the servant reserves the right to veto such a trade for any reason.
During their frequent clashes with external armies, the Dark Elves do sometimes take prisoners of war, though very rarely are they used for slave labor. They never bring them back to major settlements, often keeping them on the outskirts of their territory to prevent them from learning critical knowledge of their territory. Most prisoners are held as bargaining chips to be traded for passage, supplies, or captured Dark Elves. Captured military leaders are sometimes brought to Dark Elven cities to be tried for their crimes against their people.

Dark Elven Government: Independent Houses

Unlike many other cultures, the Dark Elves lack a centralized government. Societal etiquette govern the standard for how certain crimes and disagreements should be handled, but each family unit acts as its own governing body. Disagreements within families are thus resolved internally. Inter-family disputes are resolved in multiple different ways. Most often, the two matrons of the family will meet and agree on terms to fairly compensate both sides. In cases when these talks deteriorate, the High Priestess of Lolth is often called to serve as the mediator and serves as the ruling body between disputes. Her rulings are final and indisputable, as she is considered the mouthpiece of Lolth’s will.
In times of crisis, historically the many houses of the Dark Elves have convened to discuss threats to all of Dark Elven society. This is uncommon as it’s difficult logistically to gather all the matrons in the same place at the same time, so often houses are represented by either the second eldest woman of the family or the eldest daughter of the matron. The High Priestess of Lolth often resides over these meetings as an arbiter in the event of split decisions or in delivering guidance from Lolth herself.

There's my take on the Dark Elves. Any comments, suggestions, questions, outrages, and critiques are welcomed. This is my first comprehensive look at a whole race so if I've missed things, I'll try and patch them up. I'd like to do similar things for Orcs, Goblinoids, Kobolds, and others so those might be seen soon. Thanks!
submitted by Lerad to DnDBehindTheScreen [link] [comments]

A Brief introduction to African Socialism

At the end of the Second World War, Europe realized that their hold on their colonial holdings was slipping fast. Most of them began to draw up plans to gradually grant independence. The people within these countries however had different priorities. They saw their chance to break from the colonial masters and took it. In 1950, only Egypt, Liberia, Ethiopia, and South Africa could be considered independent, by 1965 the vast majority of nations were on their own. Some flourished, some languished, but almost all improved with their newfound freedom.
At this time, the world was locked in a struggle between Western Democracy and Communist Dictatorship. With little warning, a new theater opened in the Cold War. Africans were given the decision of who to side with. As an enemy of their former masters, the Soviet Union made a natural ally, and Socialism's anti-imperial (theoretic) stance appealed to people in post imperial regions of the world. Since independence, seventeen African nations have had a government which self-identified as socialist, six of those as Marxist-Leninist. Like Africa itself, socialist movements in the continent were varied and diverse. Ranging from self described socialist Nelson Mandella becoming celebrated world wide for his devotion to peace and equality to Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam, whose violence and economic mismanagement killed thousands.
The purpose of this post is to describe the ideological origins and tenets of African socialism, with a look at what makes it distinct from mainstream Communist movements. On this map red shows those states which identified as Marxist, yellow shows those which identified as with a variety of other forms of socialism, and green shows those which more closely fall under the Arab Socialist movement and will not be discussed here.

Ideological Origins

Broadly speaking, African Socialism drew inspiration from two main sources, the traditional body of socialist literature and that of the Pan-African movement.
Socialism
Both the ideological tenets of socialism and the practical concerns socialist nations played a role in African nations adopting socialism. Most of the nations of Africa were in a struggle for freedom from capitalist European countries and found a natural ally in the Soviet Union. Following WWII, it was in many ways a binary choice to side with the US or USSR. Those who led rebellions or coups against US backed leaders had few options other than the USSR.
Political concerns aside, there were many reasons why socialism was ideologically attractive to educated Africans. Socialism is at its base revolutionary. "Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workingmen of all countries unite!” With even a cursory glance at Marx, it doesn't take much imagination to see why people oppressed for decades would turn to him.
The anti-Imperial rhetoric of socialism (regardless of the actual aggression of the USSR and PRC) was another motivating factor. In this case, I point to Vladimir Lenin's Imperialism: the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In this work, Lenin points towards imperialism as a symptom of the capitalist system. However, one of the reasons this work remained applicable after the collapse of most overseas empires is due to his characterization of imperialism. One example he gives in the book speaks of US domination of the Argentine beef industry. According to Lenin, though the US never carved out a concession area or installed a governor general, they used economic power to dominate the industry and exert control over the country. This characterization rang true for many people who looked at the efforts taken by former colonial powers looking to retain their economic stakes in their old colonies.
One of the problems socialists face in implementing their policy is that Orthodox Marxism is heavily based on the conditions of 19th century Western Europe, and when applied outside of those conditions, thinkers need to reconcile the inconsistencies with the conditions on the ground. While we will look at how various African leaders adapted the ideology, one sub-ideology which played a major role in African Socialism was Maoism. Orthodox Marxism focuses heavily on a revolution based around industrial workers. Early 20th century China, much like post-colonial Africa had little in the way of industry. Mao re conceptualized the idea of the proletariat to include peasant farmers and made the revolution as agrarian as it was industrial. For example, the first president of Socialist Madagascar released an ideology book heavily inspired by Mao's Red Book. China also served as an alternative source of support in the event of a conflict with Russia; Somalia received aid from the PRC when they were at war with Soviet aligned Ethiopia.
Pan- African Movement
The Pan-African movement did not solely influence the African Socialist movement. In fact, almost all post-colonial governments took inspiration from many of the tenets of movement. Nor were all the central figures socialists, indeed Emperor Halie Salassi of Ethiopia was about as far from socialist as could be. However there was a degree of mutual influence in a number of places. The start of it can be traced to Jamaican thinker Marcus Garvey. The Pan-African colors and the icon of the Black Star both came from him. Kwame Nkrumah mentioned him directly as an influence. This remained on the nationalist and pan-nationalist side of African socialism. This and racial empowerment remained a constant theme in African socialism, with many African thinkers rejecting class reductionism. African's tended to be acutely aware of the role of race in world politics and used it in conjunction with class and capitalist interest to explain the world.
Another major thinker was American W. E. B. du Bois. One of the founding members of the NAACP and author of one of the first sociological works about African Americans, Du Bois is one of the most important figures of the American Civil Rights Movement. Du Bois was in reality a Social Democrat, who often saw world communist governments as a means to an end for black people. In Socialism and the American Negro, he referred to the New Deal as a America's foray into Socialism. Though a stalwart supporter of democracy he visited Mao Zedong and Joseph Stalin personally. He was a strong opponent of colonization and spoke to young leaders in the 1945 Pan-African congress. There he met future President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah. He would become a mentor to Nkrumah and move to Accra in his final days.

Non-Marxist-Leninist Socialism

Many of the most interesting and successful movements in Africa were non-Marxist-Leninist. They took local beliefs and attitudes and molded socialism to fit them. These were incredibly diverse, ranging from forms of social democracy to far more authoritarian structures. The leaders ranged from educated elites to guerrilla leaders. The first socialist governments sprang up at independence and continued through the Cold War. These are some of the more notable ones.
Consciencism
Few other thinkers have had near the lasting influence on African politics and philosophy as Kwame Nkrumah. Born to a poor family in the British Gold Coast, Nkrumah was sent to school by his family where he excelled. Interested in Politics and Philosophy, he saved money to pay to visit the United States. He worked menial jobs to put himself through school at Lincoln University and University of Pennsylvania. In the US he became close to expat and American leftists as well as enjoying African American culture. After graduating he went to the London School of Economics. This is where he began political organizing. He returned to the Gold Coast where he founded the Convention People's Party. When the British began increasing local rule, his party swept. When the British did not meet the demands of the Ghanian people, he became a champion of the people with his down to earth nature and organization of general strikes. When Ghana was given full independence, he was the overwhelming choice.
A strict empiricist, Nkrumah sought to make an organic political philosophy that was designed to change as the material needs of the country changed. He determined that the welfare of the individual was the most important concern of the government and society. It was from this lens that he criticized capitalism, contending that it reduced man to a means to achieving the goal of profit. He pointed to traditional African values, Islam, and European influences as the three ideological tides that shaped Africa. The latter two he condemned, though admitted their merits where he saw them (such as the French education system), and gave qualified approval to the first. African society was to be, in spirit but not practice the driver of society. This meant that pan-Africanism and historical study were to be focused on, but the actual institutions such as tribalism, traditional monarchy, and class hierarchies were to be abandoned.
This is where socialism came into Nkrumah's Consciencism. It was not out of devotion to Marxist thinking, but out of a belief that socialist economic structures would be the most effective way of leading the country to prosperity. In a 1967 address he gave in Egypt he stated "Socialism is not spontaneous. It does not arise of itself. It has abiding principles according to which the major means of production and distribution ought to be socialized if exploitation of the many by the few is to be prevented; if, that is to say, egalitarianism in the economy is to be protected. Socialist countries in Africa may differ in this or that detail of their policies, but such differences themselves ought not to be arbitrary or subject to vagaries of taste. They must be scientifically explained, as necessities arising from differences in the particular circumstances of the countries themselves." To Nkrumah, Socialism was not prescriptive, but rather a process where one used communal ownership as needed to create a better society. He was a believer in the idea of scientific socialism in believing that socialism came from the natural needs of the people, rather than an ideological devotion.
Ujamaa
If Nkrumah was a product of the study of Philosophy, Julius Nyerere was a product of the study of anthropology and history. Unlike Nkrumah, Nyerere was the product of elite lineage. His father was a chief who earned the favor of both the German, and later British Administrations in Tanganyika. He was chosen by the British to receive education to be a local leader and studied at Makerere College before finishing his post graduate work at University of Edinburgh. Upon returning, he founded the Tanganyika African National Union, which pushed for independence from the UK through non-violent protest.
His philosophy of Ujamaa, meaning familyhood in Swahili, became the guiding ideology of the party and independent Tanganyika (and Tanzania after their unification with Zanzibar). In this ideology, Nyerere posits that socialism is the natural state of African people. Before the introduction of Western influences, African people lived in an equal and communitarian society. While he admits the existence of elites he countered that the relative equality of means meant that there was no comparison to modern economic structures. For Africans to be prosperous, they had to return to the social structures as well as the spirit of pre-colonial Africa, while accepting modernizations that would benefit the common man.
He posited that African society had a natural social value attached to work, and this work was done, not to the benefit of a capitalist elite, but to the benefit of society, thus with the fruits of labor belonging to society, they could be considered socialist. Through a return to these structures, they could have a socialist society that was structured on the needs of Africans, rather than those of 19th century Europeans. He regarded Marxists as rigid and dogmatic, stating that, "The works of Marx and Lenin are regarded as holy writ… We find them condemning others actions because they do not accord with what the 'priests of scientific socialism' have decided is the true meaning." His ontology marked the community as the basic unit. He believed in socialism through consent of the people, but not necessarily through democracy.

Marxist-Leninism

Marxist-Leninist nations in Africa tend to fill a different niche that those of non-Marxist states. Non-Marxist states tended to grow from movements within the countries with a locally based variant of socialism guiding the development of government structures. Marxist states on the other hand tended to come from the geopolitical needs of the nation. They tended to lean heavily into the support of the Soviet Union or People's Republic of China. These governments tended to be criticized by Orthodox Marxists both within the countries and abroad for simply slapping a Marxist aesthetic on a run of the mill authoritarian state. This is not universal, and depended on the leader and movement. Thomas Sankara (referred to as the African Che Guevara) is celebrated by leftists for his attempts to organize Burkina Faso, whereas his successor Blaise Compaoré simply co-opted Marxist symbolism until the end of the Cold War when it was dropped entirely. The two states I will profile show a best and worst case for African Marxists.
Benin
Nothing I write would be complete without me mentioning Benin somewhere. The Republic of Dahomey gained its freedom from France August 1st, 1960. At that time Hubert Maga, a school teacher turned politician from the North was named first president. Benin is divided into three broad super-cultural groups (though there are a total of 64 ethnic groups). The Fon in the South, the Yoruba in the East, and the Bariba and other Muslims in the North. The Maga government was soon overthrown and the country rapidly switched between a number of governments, each dedicated to giving as much as possible to their constituent area before being removed from office.
This changed in 1972 when a young army officer named Mathieu Kerekou led a successful coup. Kerekou was different in the sense that he had no real ties to any of the political families that had been competing for power. He also ended the system of clientism that had defined Dahomeyan politics to that point (though some contend he showed bias against the Fon. Strongly nationalistic, Kerekou made his hatred for the French clear early on, pointing to them as the cause of many of the country's problems and the patron of the old regime.
In 1974, Kerekou changed the country's name from the Republic of Dahomey to the People's Republic of Benin and formally adopted Marxism-Leninism as the guiding ideology of the nation. Oil reserves and refineries as well as the banking system were rapidly nationalized and Kerekou made overtures to international communist nations for aid. Austerity programs were also quickly ended. The North Koreans were particularly close allies. Curiously, Kerekou worked to retain warm relations with the United States. Peace Corps remained in operation through his entire presidency and working in the American embassy was considered a strong stepping stone.
The practical effects for the average Beninese person varied from urban to village. Local leaders were required to be members of the People's Revolutionary Party, and extreme corruption and inefficiency meant that few resources radiated outside of population centers. Instilled with a strong labor union tradition during French occupation, the national labor movement was consolidated into a single approved union that was basically mandated to follow government orders. Unionized workers as well as students were the chief opponents of the regime and faced significant surveillance and harassment.
This started to change in the mid 80s as it became clear that the regime's economic reforms weren't working. Benin was lagging behind its neighbors Ghana, Togo, and Nigeria. On top of this, student groups and workers in unofficial unions were demanding change. Simultaneously, the election of Francois Mitterrand in France opened a new era in Franco-Beninese relations, shifting the nation back to Western alignment away from the moribund USSR. Under mounting pressure, Kerekou agreed to a constitutional referendum and free elections. Upon his loss, he gracefully stepped down in 1991, but was reelected in 1996. Having dropped Marxism, he led his second term as a moderate liberal, doing little to harm the economic and political reforms of the early 90s.
Ethiopia
Ethiopia, on the other hand, faced the fullest horror of Communism and likely suffered to a similar extent to Ukraine and China. In 1970, the Solomonic Dynasty leading the Empire of Ethiopia was one of the oldest royal houses in the world dating back to 1270 and drawing its lineage back to the Biblical King Solomon. Their last Emperor was Halie Selassie, celebrated among Pan-Africanists as one of the only African leaders to resist colonization. Though celebrated by the diaspora, Selassie's rule was authoritarian and secretive. In 1973, a famine hit Ethiopia. Rather than petition for aid Selassie covered it up, and only accepted aid on the contingency that it was given in secret. The inaction of the Emperor prompted a revolutionary council known as the Derg to take over.
This council quickly moved to numerous industries. Eritrean, Tigre, and Somali nationalists took advantage of the situation to launch offensives against the government. When the Carter Administration warned the Derg to cease the human rights violations they were committing in the crackdown, they cut ties with Washington and invited East-German and Soviet military advisors. In the Tigre region, the Ethiopian military embarked on a scorched earth offensive to quell the rebellion. Using such tactics in a nation with food security concerns was probably ill-advised. The offensive in the North consumed around two thirds of the national budget.
The problems the Derg had created were compounded in 1983. In 1982, the rains failed and there was risk of another great famine. Having become an international pariah due to the extreme violence of Derg forces, the international community was reluctant to give aid and the Reagan administration lobbied heavily against it as part of his campaign to halt Communism in the Horn of Africa. When the famine hit in earnest, the Derg mobilized to create collective farms. These farms were incredibly inefficient, consuming 82% of imported fertilizer while contributing only 15% of grain production. To staff these farms, people from offending areas, particularly Tigre were forcibly removed from their homes and shipped to location. Africa Watch estimates that around 50,000 people died on these farms alone, comparing conditions to the Ukrainian farms in the days of Stalin. In total, as many as 1.2 million people were killed, 2.5 million displaced, with Human Rights Watch estimating that around half could be attributed to government actions.

Conclusion

Socialism is a phenomenon that struck the African continent in many ways across the Cold War era and beyond. Its incarnations were as diverse as the groups it affected. This is by no means an exhaustive look at African socialism, but simply a chance for the reader to find a starting place for further study and give context to an under studied part of the world. Indeed, there were many important people and thinkers left out, such as Cheikh Anta Diop, Walter Rodney, and Siad Barre. Please let me know in the comments what if anything you would like to learn more about. If you found the philosophical analysis or historical fact more interesting, I would be happy to write more about it.
Sources African Socialism Revisited- Kwame Nkrumah
Ujamma – The Basis of African Socialism- Julius K. Nyerere
Drought, War, and the Politics of Famine in Ethiopia and Eritrea- Edmond J. Keller
Applying the weapon of theory: comparing the philosophy of Julius Kambarage Nyerere and Kwame Nkrumah- Tomáš František Žák
Three African social theorists on class struggle, political liberation, and indigenous culture : Cheikh Anta Diop, Amilcar Cabral, Kwame Nkrumah - Charles Simon-Aaron
Socialism and the American Negro- W. E. B. Du Bois
Benin- Chris Allen
submitted by Dibbu_mange to neoliberal [link] [comments]

The Next Processor Change is Within ARMs Reach

As you may have seen, I sent the following Tweet: “The Apple ARM MacBook future is coming, maybe sooner than people expect” https://twitter.com/choco_bit/status/1266200305009676289?s=20
Today, I would like to further elaborate on that.
tl;dr Apple will be moving to Arm based macs in what I believe are 4 stages, starting around 2015 and ending around 2023-2025: Release of T1 chip Macbooks, release of T2 chip Macbooks, Release of at least one lower end model Arm Macbook, and transitioning full lineup to Arm. Reasons for each are below.
Apple is very likely going to switch to switch their CPU platform to their in-house silicon designs with an ARM architecture. This understanding is a fairly common amongst various Apple insiders. Here is my personal take on how this switch will happen and be presented to the consumer.
The first question would likely be “Why would Apple do this again?”. Throughout their history, Apple has already made two other storied CPU architecture switches - first from the Motorola 68k to PowerPC in the early 90s, then from PowerPC to Intel in the mid 2000s. Why make yet another? Here are the leading reasons:
A common refrain heard on the Internet is the suggestion that Apple should switch to using CPUs made by AMD, and while this has been considered internally, it will most likely not be chosen as the path forward, even for their megalithic giants like the Mac Pro. Even though AMD would mitigate Intel’s current set of problems, it does nothing to help the issue of the x86_64 architecture’s problems and inefficiencies, on top of jumping to a platform that doesn’t have a decade of proven support behind it. Why spend a lot of effort re-designing and re- optimizing for AMD’s platform when you can just put that effort into your own, and continue the vertical integration Apple is well-known for?
I believe that the internal development for the ARM transition started around 2015/2016 and is considered to be happening in 4 distinct stages. These are not all information from Apple insiders; some of these these are my own interpretation based off of information gathered from supply-chain sources, examination of MacBook schematics, and other indicators from Apple.

Stage1 (from 2014/2015 to 2017):

The rollout of computers with Apple’s T1 chip as a coprocessor. This chip is very similar to Apple’s T8002 chip design, which was used for the Apple Watch Series 1 and Series 2. The T1 is primarily present on the first TouchID enabled Macs, 2016 and 2017 model year MacBook Pros.
Considering the amount of time required to design and validate a processor, this stage most likely started around 2014 or 2015, with early experimentation to see whether an entirely new chip design would be required, or if would be sufficient to repurpose something in the existing lineup. As we can see, the general purpose ARM processors aren’t a one- trick pony.
To get a sense of the decision making at the time, let’s look back a bit. The year is 2016, and we're witnessing the beginning of stagnation of Intel processor lineup. There is not a lot to look forward to other than another “+” being added to the 14nm fabrication process. The MacBook Pro has used the same design for many years now, and its age is starting to show. Moving to AMD is still very questionable, as they’ve historically not been able to match Intel’s performance or functionality, especially at the high end, and since the “Ryzen” lineup is still unreleased, there is absolutely no benchmarks or other data to show they are worth consideration, and AMD’s most recent line of “Bulldozer” processors were very poorly received. Now is probably as good a time as any to begin experimenting with the in-house ARM designs, but it’s not time to dive into the deep end yet, our chips are not nearly mature enough to compete, and it’s not yet certain how long Intel will be stuck in the mud. As well, it is widely understood that Apple and Intel have an exclusivity contract in exchange for advantageous pricing. Any transition would take considerable time and effort, and since there are no current viable alternative to Intel, the in-house chips will need to advance further, and breaching a contract with Intel is too great a risk. So it makes sense to start with small deployments, to extend the timeline, stretch out to the end of the contract, and eventually release a real banger of a Mac.
Thus, the 2016 Touch Bar MacBooks were born, alongside the T1 chip mentioned earlier. There are good reasons for abandoning the piece of hardware previously used for a similar purpose, the SMC or System Management Controller. I suspect that the biggest reason was to allow early analysis of the challenges that would be faced migrating Mac built- in peripherals and IO to an ARM-based controller, as well as exploring the manufacturing, power, and performance results of using the chips across a broad deployment, and analyzing any early failure data, then using this to patch any issues, enhance processes, and inform future designs looking towards the 2nd stage.
The former SMC duties now moved to T1 includes things like
The T1 chip also communicates with a number of other controllers to manage a MacBook’s behavior. Even though it’s not a very powerful CPU by modern standards, it’s already responsible for a large chunk of the machine’s operation. Moving control of these peripherals to the T1 chip also brought about the creation of the fabled BridgeOS software, a shrunken-down watchOS-based system that operates fully independently of macOS and the primary Intel processor.
BridgeOS is the first step for Apple’s engineering teams to begin migrating underlying systems and services to integrate with the ARM processor via BridgeOS, and it allowed internal teams to more easily and safely develop and issue firmware updates. Since BridgeOS is based on a standard and now well-known system, it means that they can leverage existing engineering expertise to flesh out the T1’s development, rather than relying on the more arcane and specialized SMC system, which operates completely differently and requires highly specific knowledge to work with. It also allows reuse of the same fabrication pipeline used for Apple Watch processors, and eliminated the need to have yet another IC design for the SMC, coming from a separate source, to save a bit on cost.
Also during this time, on the software side, “Project Marzipan”, today Catalyst, came into existence. We'll get to this shortly.
For the most part, this Stage 1 went without any major issues. There were a few firmware problems at first during the product launch, but they were quickly solved with software updates. Now that engineering teams have had experience building for, manufacturing, and shipping the T1 systems, Stage 2 would begin.

Stage2 (2018-Present):

Stage 2 encompasses the rollout of Macs with the T2 coprocessor, replacing the T1. This includes a much wider lineup, including MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, starting with 2018 models, MacBook Air starting with 2018 models, the iMac Pro, the 2019 Mac Pro, as well as Mac Mini starting in 2018.
With this iteration, the more powerful T8012 processor design was used, which is a further revision of the T8010 design that powers the A10 series processors used in the iPhone 7. This change provided a significant increase in computational ability and brought about the integration of even more devices into T2. In addition to the T1’s existing responsibilities, T2 now controls:
Those last 2 points are crucial for Stage 2. Under this new paradigm, the vast majority of the Mac is now under the control of an in-house ARM processor. Stage 2 also brings iPhone-grade hardware security to the Mac. These T2 models also incorporated a supported DFU (Device Firmware Update, more commonly “recovery mode”), which acts similarly to the iPhone DFU mode and allows restoration of the BridgeOS firmware in the event of corruption (most commonly due to user-triggered power interruption during flashing).
Putting more responsibility onto the T2 again allows for Apple’s engineering teams to do more early failure analysis on hardware and software, monitor stability of these machines, experiment further with large-scale production and deployment of this ARM platform, as well as continue to enhance the silicon for Stage 3.
A few new user-visible features were added as well in this stage, such as support for the passive “Hey Siri” trigger, and offloading image and video transcoding to the T2 chip, which frees up the main Intel processor for other applications. BridgeOS was bumped to 2.0 to support all of these changes and the new chip.
On the macOS software side, what was internally known as Project Marzipan was first demonstrated to the public. Though it was originally discovered around 2017, and most likely began development and testing within later parts of Stage 1, its effects could be seen in 2018 with the release of iPhone apps, now running on the Mac using the iOS SDKs: Voice Recorder, Apple News, Home, Stocks, and more, with an official announcement and public release at WWDC in 2019. Catalyst would come to be the name of Marzipan used publicly. This SDK release allows app developers to easily port iOS apps to run on macOS, with minimal or no code changes, and without needing to develop separate versions for each. The end goal is to allow developers to submit a single version of an app, and allow it to work seamlessly on all Apple platforms, from Watch to Mac. At present, iOS and iPadOS apps are compiled for the full gamut of ARM instruction sets used on those devices, while macOS apps are compiled for x86_64. The logical next step is to cross this bridge, and unify the instruction sets.
With this T2 release, the new products using it have not been quite as well received as with the T1. Many users have noticed how this change contributes further towards machines with limited to no repair options outside of Apple’s repair organization, as well as some general issues with bugs in the T2.
Products with the T2 also no longer have the “Lifeboat” connector, which was previously present on 2016 and 2017 model Touch Bar MacBook Pro. This connector allowed a certified technician to plug in a device called a CDM Tool (Customer Data Migration Tool) to recover data off of a machine that was not functional. The removal of this connector limits the options for data recovery in the event of a problem, and Apple has never offered any data recovery service, meaning that a irreparable failure of the T2 chip or the primary board would result in complete data loss, in part due to the strong encryption provided by the T2 chip (even if the data got off, the encryption keys were lost with the T2 chip). The T2 also brought about the linkage of component serial numbers of certain internal components, such as the solid state storage, display, and trackpad, among other components. In fact, many other controllers on the logic board are now also paired to the T2, such as the WiFi and Bluetooth controller, the PMIC (Power Management Controller), and several other components. This is the exact same system used on newer iPhone models and is quite familiar to technicians who repair iPhone logic boards. While these changes are fantastic for device security and corporate and enterprise users, allowing for a very high degree of assurance that devices will refuse to boot if tampered with in any way - even from storied supply chain attacks, or other malfeasance that can be done with physical access to a machine - it has created difficulty with consumers who more often lack the expertise or awareness to keep critical data backed up, as well as the funds to perform the necessary repairs from authorized repair providers. Other issues reported that are suspected to be related to T2 are audio “cracking” or distortion on the internal speakers, and the BridgeOS becoming corrupt following a firmware update resulting in a machine that can’t boot.
I believe these hiccups will be properly addressed once macOS is fully integrated with the ARM platform. This stage of the Mac is more like a chimera of an iPhone and an Intel based computer. Technically, it does have all of the parts of an iPhone present within it, cellular radio aside, and I suspect this fusion is why these issues exist.
Recently, security researchers discovered an underlying security problem present within the Boot ROM code of the T1 and T2 chip. Due to being the same fundamental platform as earlier Apple Watch and iPhone processors, they are vulnerable to the “checkm8” exploit (CVE-2019-8900). Because of how these chips operate in a Mac, firmware modifications caused by use of the exploit will persist through OS reinstallation and machine restarts. Both the T1 and T2 chips are always on and running, though potentially in a heavily reduced power usage state, meaning the only way to clean an exploited machine is to reflash the chip, triggering a restart, or to fully exhaust or physically disconnect the battery to flush its memory. Fortunately, this exploit cannot be done remotely and requires physical access to the Mac for an extended duration, as well as a second Mac to perform the change, so the majority of users are relatively safe. As well, with a very limited execution environment and access to the primary system only through a “mailbox” protocol, the utility of exploiting these chips is extremely limited. At present, there is no known malware that has used this exploit. The proper fix will come with the next hardware revision, and is considered a low priority due to the lack of practical usage of running malicious code on the coprocessor.
At the time of writing, all current Apple computers have a T2 chip present, with the exception of the 2019 iMac lineup. This will change very soon with the expected release of the 2020 iMac lineup at WWDC, which will incorporate a T2 coprocessor as well.
Note: from here on, this turns entirely into speculation based on info gathered from a variety of disparate sources.
Right now, we are in the final steps of Stage 2. There are strong signs that an a MacBook (12”) with an ARM main processor will be announced this year at WWDC (“One more thing...”), at a Fall 2020 event, Q1 2021 event, or WWDC 2021. Based on the lack of a more concrete answer, WWDC2020 will likely not see it, but I am open to being wrong here.

Stage3 (Present/2021 - 2022/2023):

Stage 3 involves the first version of at least one fully ARM-powered Mac into Apple’s computer lineup.
I expect this will come in the form of the previously-retired 12” MacBook. There are rumors that Apple is still working internally to perfect the infamous Butterfly keyboard, and there are also signs that Apple is developing an A14x based processors with 8-12 cores designed specifically for use as the primary processor in a Mac. It makes sense that this model could see the return of the Butterfly keyboard, considering how thin and light it is intended to be, and using an A14x processor would make it will be a very capable, very portable machine, and should give customers a good taste of what is to come.
Personally, I am excited to test the new 12" “ARMbook”. I do miss my own original 12", even with all the CPU failure issues those older models had. It was a lovely form factor for me.
It's still not entirely known whether the physical design of these will change from the retired version, exactly how many cores it will have, the port configuration, etc. I have also heard rumors about the 12” model possibly supporting 5G cellular connectivity natively thanks to the A14 series processor. All of this will most likely be confirmed soon enough.
This 12” model will be the perfect stepping stone for stage 3, since Apple’s ARM processors are not yet a full-on replacement for Intel’s full processor lineup, especially at the high end, in products such as the upcoming 2020 iMac, iMac Pro, 16” MacBook Pro, and the 2019 Mac Pro.
Performance of Apple’s ARM platform compared to Intel has been a big point of contention over the last couple years, primarily due to the lack of data representative of real-world desktop usage scenarios. The iPad Pro and other models with Apple’s highest-end silicon still lack the ability to execute a lot of high end professional applications, so data about anything more than video editing and photo editing tasks benchmarks quickly becomes meaningless. While there are completely synthetic benchmarks like Geekbench, Antutu, and others, to try and bridge the gap, they are very far from being accurate or representative of the real real world performance in many instances. Even though the Apple ARM processors are incredibly powerful, and I do give constant praise to their silicon design teams, there still just isn’t enough data to show how they will perform for real-world desktop usage scenarios, and synthetic benchmarks are like standardized testing: they only show how good a platform is at running the synthetic benchmark. This type of benchmark stresses only very specific parts of each chip at a time, rather than how well it does a general task, and then boil down the complexity and nuances of each chip into a single numeric score, which is not a remotely accurate way of representing processors with vastly different capabilities and designs. It would be like gauging how well a person performs a manual labor task based on averaging only the speed of every individual muscle in the body, regardless of if, or how much, each is used. A specific group of muscles being stronger or weaker than others could wildly skew the final result, and grossly misrepresent performance of the person as a whole. Real world program performance will be the key in determining the success and future of this transition, and it will have to be great on this 12" model, but not just in a limited set of tasks, it will have to be great at *everything*. It is intended to be the first Horseman of the Apocalypse for the Intel Mac, and it better behave like one. Consumers have been expecting this, especially after 15 years of Intel processors, the continued advancement of Apple’s processors, and the decline of Intel’s market lead.
The point of this “demonstration” model is to ease both users and developers into the desktop ARM ecosystem slowly. Much like how the iPhone X paved the way for FaceID-enabled iPhones, this 12" model will pave the way towards ARM Mac systems. Some power-user type consumers may complain at first, depending on the software compatibility story, then realize it works just fine since the majority of the computer users today do not do many tasks that can’t be accomplished on an iPad or lower end computer. Apple needs to gain the public’s trust for basic tasks first, before they will be able to break into the market of users performing more hardcore or “Pro” tasks. This early model will probably not be targeted at these high-end professionals, which will allow Apple to begin to gather early information about the stability and performance of this model, day to day usability, developmental issues that need to be addressed, hardware failure analysis, etc. All of this information is crucial to Stage 4, or possibly later parts of Stage 3.
The 2 biggest concerns most people have with the architecture change is app support and Bootcamp.
Any apps released through the Mac App Store will not be a problem. Because App Store apps are submitted as LLVM IR (“Bitcode”), the system can automatically download versions compiled and optimized for ARM platforms, similar to how App Thinning on iOS works. For apps distributed outside the App Store, thing might be more tricky. There are a few ways this could go:
As for Bootcamp, while ARM-compatible versions of Windows do exist and are in development, they come with their own similar set of app support problems. Microsoft has experimented with emulating x86_64 on their ARM-based Surface products, and some other OEMs have created their own Windows-powered ARM laptops, but with very little success. Performance is a problem across the board, with other ARM silicon not being anywhere near as advanced, and with the majority of apps in the Windows ecosystem that were not developed in-house at Microsoft running terribly due to the x86_64 emulation software. If Bootcamp does come to the early ARM MacBook, it more than likely will run like very poorly for anything other than Windows UWP apps. There is a high chance it will be abandoned entirely until Windows becomes much more friendly to the architecture.
I believe this will also be a very crucial turning point for the MacBook lineup as a whole. At present, the iPad Pro paired with the Magic Keyboard is, in many ways, nearly identical to a laptop, with the biggest difference being the system software itself. While Apple executives have outright denied plans of merging the iPad and MacBook line, that could very well just be a marketing stance, shutting the down rumors in anticipation of a well-executed surprise. I think that Apple might at least re-examine the possibility of merging Macs and iPads in some capacity, but whether they proceed or not could be driven by consumer reaction to both products. Do they prefer the feel and usability of macOS on ARM, and like the separation of both products? Is there success across the industry of the ARM platform, both at the lower and higher end of the market? Do users see that iPadOS and macOS are just 2 halves of the same coin? Should there be a middle ground, and a new type of product similar to the Surface Book, but running macOS? Should Macs and iPads run a completely uniform OS? Will iPadOS ever see exposed the same sort of UNIX-based tools for IT administrators and software developers that macOS has present? These are all very real questions that will pop up in the near future.
The line between Stage 3 and Stage 4 will be blurry, and will depend on how Apple wishes to address different problems going forward, and what the reactions look like. It is very possible that only 12” will be released at first, or a handful more lower end model laptop and desktop products could be released, with high performance Macs following in Stage 4, or perhaps everything but enterprise products like Mac Pro will be switched fully. Only time will tell.

Stage 4 (the end goal):

Congratulations, you’re made it to the end of my TED talk. We are now well into the 2020s and COVID-19 Part 4 is casually catching up to the 5G = Virus crowd. All Macs have transitioned fully to ARM. iMac, MacBooks Pro and otherwise, Mac Pro, Mac Mini, everything. The future is fully Apple from top to bottom, and vertical integration leading to market dominance continues. Many other OEM have begun to follow in this path to some extent, creating more demand for a similar class of silicon from other firms.
The remainder here is pure speculation with a dash of wishful thinking. There are still a lot of things that are entirely unclear. The only concrete thing is that Stage 4 will happen when everything is running Apple’s in- house processors.
By this point, consumers will be quite familiar with the ARM Macs existing, and developers have had have enough time to transition apps fully over to the newly unified system. Any performance, battery life, or app support concerns will not be an issue at this point.
There are no more details here, it’s the end of the road, but we are left with a number of questions.
It is unclear if Apple will stick to AMD's GPUs or whether they will instead opt to use their in-house graphics solutions that have been used since the A11 series of processors.
How Thunderbolt support on these models of Mac will be achieved is unknown. While Intel has made it openly available for use, and there are plans to have USB and Thunderbolt combined in a single standard, it’s still unclear how it will play along with Apple processors. Presently, iPhones do support connecting devices via PCI Express to the processor, but it has only been used for iPhone and iPad storage. The current Apple processors simply lack the number of lanes required for even the lowest end MacBook Pro. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in order to ship a full desktop-grade platform.
There is also the question of upgradability for desktop models, and if and how there will be a replaceable, socketed version of these processors. Will standard desktop and laptop memory modules play nicely with these ARM processors? Will they drop standard memory across the board, in favor of soldered options, or continue to support user-configurable memory on some models? Will my 2023 Mac Pro play nicely with a standard PCI Express device that I buy off the shelf? Will we see a return of “Mac Edition” PCI devices?
There are still a lot of unknowns, and guessing any further in advance is too difficult. The only thing that is certain, however, is that Apple processors coming to Mac is very much within arm’s reach.
submitted by Fudge_0001 to apple [link] [comments]

another take on Getting into Devops as a Beginner

I really enjoyed m4nz's recent post: Getting into DevOps as a beginner is tricky - My 50 cents to help with it and wanted to do my own version of it, in hopes that it might help beginners as well. I agree with most of their advice and recommend folks check it out if you haven't yet, but I wanted to provide more of a simple list of things to learn and tools to use to compliment their solid advice.

Background

While I went to college and got a degree, it wasn't in computer science. I simply developed an interest in Linux and Free & Open Source Software as a hobby. I set up a home server and home theater PC before smart TV's and Roku were really a thing simply because I thought it was cool and interesting and enjoyed the novelty of it.
Fast forward a few years and basically I was just tired of being poor lol. I had heard on the now defunct Linux Action Show podcast about linuxacademy.com and how people had had success with getting Linux jobs despite not having a degree by taking the courses there and acquiring certifications. I took a course, got the basic LPI Linux Essentials Certification, then got lucky by landing literally the first Linux job I applied for at a consulting firm as a junior sysadmin.
Without a CS degree, any real experience, and 1 measly certification, I figured I had to level up my skills as quickly as possible and this is where I really started to get into DevOps tools and methodologies. I now have 5 years experience in the IT world, most of it doing DevOps/SRE work.

Certifications

People have varying opinions on the relevance and worth of certifications. If you already have a CS degree or experience then they're probably not needed unless their structure and challenge would be a good motivation for you to learn more. Without experience or a CS degree, you'll probably need a few to break into the IT world unless you know someone or have something else to prove your skills, like a github profile with lots of open source contributions, or a non-profit you built a website for or something like that. Regardless of their efficacy at judging a candidate's ability to actually do DevOps/sysadmin work, they can absolutely help you get hired in my experience.
Right now, these are the certs I would recommend beginners pursue. You don't necessarily need all of them to get a job (I got started with just the first one on this list), and any real world experience you can get will be worth more than any number of certs imo (both in terms of knowledge gained and in increasing your prospects of getting hired), but this is a good starting place to help you plan out what certs you want to pursue. Some hiring managers and DevOps professionals don't care at all about certs, some folks will place way too much emphasis on them ... it all depends on the company and the person interviewing you. In my experience I feel that they absolutely helped me advance my career. If you feel you don't need them, that's cool too ... they're a lot of work so skip them if you can of course lol.

Tools and Experimentation

While certs can help you get hired, they won't make you a good DevOps Engineer or Site Reliability Engineer. The only way to get good, just like with anything else, is to practice. There are a lot of sub-areas in the DevOps world to specialize in ... though in my experience, especially at smaller companies, you'll be asked to do a little (or a lot) of all of them.
Though definitely not exhaustive, here's a list of tools you'll want to gain experience with both as points on a resume and as trusty tools in your tool belt you can call on to solve problems. While there is plenty of "resume driven development" in the DevOps world, these tools are solving real problems that people encounter and struggle with all the time, i.e., you're not just learning them because they are cool and flashy, but because not knowing and using them is a giant pain!
There are many, many other DevOps tools I left out that are worthwhile (I didn't even touch the tools in the kubernetes space like helm and spinnaker). Definitely don't stop at this list! A good DevOps engineer is always looking to add useful tools to their tool belt. This industry changes so quickly, it's hard to keep up. That's why it's important to also learn the "why" of each of these tools, so that you can determine which tool would best solve a particular problem. Nearly everything on this list could be swapped for another tool to accomplish the same goals. The ones I listed are simply the most common/popular and so are a good place to start for beginners.

Programming Languages

Any language you learn will be useful and make you a better sysadmin/DevOps Eng/SRE, but these are the 3 I would recommend that beginners target first.

Expanding your knowledge

As m4nz correctly pointed out in their post, while knowledge of and experience with popular DevOps tools is important; nothing beats in-depth knowledge of the underlying systems. The more you can learn about Linux, operating system design, distributed systems, git concepts, language design, networking (it's always DNS ;) the better. Yes, all the tools listed above are extremely useful and will help you do your job, but it helps to know why we use those tools in the first place. What problems are they solving? The solutions to many production problems have already been automated away for the most part: kubernetes will restart a failed service automatically, automated testing catches many common bugs, etc. ... but that means that sometimes the solution to the issue you're troubleshooting will be quite esoteric. Occam's razor still applies, and it's usually the simplest explanation that works; but sometimes the problem really is at the kernel level.
The biggest innovations in the IT world are generally ones of abstractions: config management abstracts away tedious server provisioning, cloud providers abstract away the data center, containers abstract away the OS level, container orchestration abstracts away the node and cluster level, etc. Understanding what it happening beneath each layer of abstraction is crucial. It gives you a "big picture" of how everything fits together and why things are the way they are; and it allows you to place new tools and information into the big picture so you'll know why they'd be useful or whether or not they'd work for your company and team before you've even looked in-depth at them.
Anyway, I hope that helps. I'll be happy to answer any beginnegetting started questions that folks have! I don't care to argue about this or that point in my post, but if you have a better suggestion or additional advice then please just add it here in the comments or in your own post! A good DevOps Eng/SRE freely shares their knowledge so that we can all improve.
submitted by jamabake to devops [link] [comments]

Experiencing different RPGs makes you better at D&D

5e is considered a very homebrew-friendly RPG, and so 5e subreddits tend to be full of homebrew and DMs spreading their game design ideas. And that's great! The fact that every DM is also a game designer is a big part of what makes D&D so much fun.
But...
A lot of y'all have never played another TTRPG and it shows. Hey, it can be hard to get a table together for D&D, playing something more niche is even harder. But in the same way that you can't be a great writer if you don't read anything, it's really hard to be a good game designer and homebrewer without running other game systems. And I do mean running them. DM a one shot, or a couple of sessions, or at least play in a game. Reading the system won't do it; systems reveal their value through use.
I have never played a new TTRPG and not picked up something that makes me a better DM and homebrewer. Playing with homebrew in 5e can help you learn, but those rules always have to be built on top of 5e's assumptions and play style. Playing other games gives you a chance to see mechanics without those assumptions, and what they can bring to the table.
A lot of these won't translate back, and that's fine. Sometimes the value of this is to show you why not to homebrew something. Playing The One Ring will show you how building a game from the ground up around concepts of encumbrance, fatigue, and attrition can lead to really engaging and mechanically interesting travel. That might also show you how much you would have to change and remove in 5e to reach that same point and not to bother. Some mechanics can easily be borrowed, though. I'll never run a D&D heist again without borrowing the flashback system from Blades in the Dark.
Often times I'll hear people make the argument that since D&D has a universal skill resolution mechanic, it can handle everything. This is somewhat true, but systems matter. We don't resolve combat by saying, "roll a fighting check" and having the players win on a success vs the DC. Players will plan around and engage with the mechanics that exist, and character abilities provide hooks into the mechanics that exist.
I'd love to hear from DMs who have played other systems what they think is worth learning from them, but in short here are some recommendations to other DMs.
If you want travel to be interesting, try playing The One Ring.
If you want dungeon crawling to be tense and mechanical, try out Torchbearer. Also, for something that does this while also borrowing 5e mechanics, try 5 Torches Deep.
If you're a big believer in the Rule of Cool, try out Feng Shui 2, which is built entirely around combat looking as cool as possible.
If you think combat is first and foremost about narrative, try playing Masks where getting hit in combat is primarily mechanically about how that makes your character feel.
If you're a big advocate of "not all encounters are combat encounters", look to try a system that provides the same ease of creation, robustness, and variety of options for non-combat challenges that the Monster Manual provides for combat. Recently Pathfinder 2e's complex hazards are a decent starting point, but hopefully other DMs can recommend something even better.
If you like running mysteries, try playing a Gumshoe-based system that does investigation based on the assumption the players always find clues, the game comes from interpreting them.
If you're of the belief that D&D is first and foremost about collaborative storytelling, try playing a game that expresses that in gameplay, like Burning Wheel.
If you love big character backstories, play a game where those backstories have more mechanical weight like 13th Age.
If you like degrees of success, or hate binary saving throws, check out Pathfinder 2e to see what D&D is like when that's built into everything.
If you care a lot about failing forward, try a game with "success with complications" built centrally into the rules. Anything PbtA is a good start.
If you want to try out what roleplay looks like with social mechanics, try out Burning Wheel or L5R. It'll change how you look at high stakes conversations.
Obviously you don't have to play all of these. You don't have to play any of them! But if you want to make sweeping statements about design and you've only played D&D, maybe approach the subject with a bit of humility. I see a lot of people make broad declarations about things that just aren't fun or never work or that they say 5e already does well, who clearly haven't ever played a game designed to do that thing. Or disparaging DMs who struggle with engaging players in places where 5e doesn't provide any system. Or acting like 5e can do everything because you can graft rules onto it, without any appreciation for the difference between something strapped on to an existing game and something that a game is built to do.
RPG systems reflect the work of a lot of clever game designers and (in some cases, at least) testing effort. Playing different games can help you work past assumptions about how RPGs work and experience the ways game systems can really capture a feeling or experience. And even if you don't make that your next campaign, you'll come back to D&D a better DM for the new perspective.
submitted by gammon9 to dndnext [link] [comments]

[Serial][UWDFF Alcubierre] Part 49

Beginning | Previous
Joan opened a link to Ambassador Amahle Mandela. Soon after, the ambassador's face filled a portion of the Admiral's Bridge. She had large, luminous brown eyes that seemed to swallow the upper portion of her face, complimenting her umber tone. Amahle smiled broadly, as she always did, once the comm link as connected.
"Admiral Orléans, I assume we are approaching the departure time?"
Joan nodded, "The Zix vessel will project a wormhole to Halcyon shortly. We have made what preparations we can, but it will be a highly fluid environment."
Amahle's smile did not diminish, the pearly whites still shined in full force. "I am familiar with dynamic situations, Admiral, as you well know. I understand the parameters of this mission, and will abide by them so as long you do the same."
Joan's lips pressed together as she regarded the ambassador. Joan had had limited interactions with Amahle prior to her boarding the Oppenheimer. Amahle was a relative newcomer to the highest echelons of political power within the United World, but her ascent had been rapid. She hailed from a prominent political family that had exerted considerable influence over the generations that had led the African continent to position of power it now occupied. Well-sourced references had called her bold and decisive. All things considered, Joan understood why Damian had chosen her, though she would have preferred a diplomat she had more personal experience with. Still, unknown and competent was preferred to known and incompetent.
Joan dipped her chin, offering her agreement. "A diplomatic outcome is the preferred outcome, Ambassador. There's no benefit to antagonizing a foe we do not understand. "
"Not a foe, Admiral. We must not draw lines that place us on one side and them on the other. They have suffered injury at our hands, no matter how unintentional, and we must accept our responsibility in that. We must hope that we are given the opportunity to provide context to the unlikely chain of events that has brought us to this point. We are both the victim of cosmic circumstance. There is no need for further hostility."
Joan leaned forward in her chair slightly, "The priority, Ambassador, is the return of Admiral Kai Levinson. I will not stand in the way of peace, but any outcome that does not contemplate the return of a senior member of our military leadership is unacceptable."
Amahle shrugged, "So it is. The priority is clear in my mind, but I do not view the goals of securing peace and the return of the Admiral as mutually exclusive."
Joan offered a low chuckle. "Just probably exclusive."
"I disagree, but time shall be the arbiter of the matter."
"So long as you understand that, if the opportunity to secure Admiral Levinson presents itself, I'll avail myself of that opportunity, we should have no problems."
"That seems an unlikely outcome. The Admiral was ensconced in a shielded holding cell when the Alcubierre departed. The past few days are unlikely to have changed that outcome."
A barking laugh came out of Joan, rising up from deep within her.
For the first time, Amahle's smile faltered.
-----------
Left. Right. Straight. Left. Left.
Kai followed the directions without thinking about them, following an intuitive sense of direction that the Overseer fed to him. This portion of Halcyon appeared to be a never-ending series of corridors, all of which looked the same. The only thing that did seem to change were the inhabitants. If he was less preoccupied with the task at hand, Kai might have spared a second glance for the odd creatures that popped into existence during his mad dash. As it stood, they were just a part of the scenery, becoming relevant only if Neeria indicated they might pose a threat. So far, Kai had been fortunate, with few obstacles popping up to impede his progress.
He careened around a corner, the odd, weightless orb still tucked in the crook of his left arm. He bounced off the opposite wall, leaving a sizeable dent and then hurtled forward. Ahead the corridor opened up, and the brighter light of a mainway filtered in. Somehow, Neeria had managed to navigate him through the maze and bring him back to the mainway separating him from where he had left the Overseer. Unfortunately, evasion was no longer a possibility. In order to return to the Overseer, he would need to traverse the mainway.
The mainway was already a sea of red dots. Peacekeepers. Dozens of them. Some pulsed red, indicating lethal enforcement squads. Fortunately, they were stretched along a long section of the mainway rather than being specifically concentrated around his planned entrance point, though they there were beginning to redeploy in his direction. Still, any crossing would be potentially treacherous. Neeria disagreed with that assessment, instead considering any attempt to cross aggressively suicidal.
Kai rolled his eyes as he continued to barrel down the hallway. "Half the time, this works all the time."
What could only be described as a mental barrage ensued as Neeria assailed the statement. The words were nonsensical on their face. At best, it was an argument for a fifty percent failure rating, which was a substantial risk. Additionally, she had scoured his thoughts for the evidentiary basis for the fifty percent estimate and found no supporting facts. The sentiment was based entirely on supposition, hubris and was entirely divorced from reality. Her estimate of a three percent success rate was significantly more likely to be accurate, particularly when her superior familiarity with the assets in play were considered.
Kai wasn't sure if the Evangi had lungs, but, if they did, Kai was pretty certain Neeria was in the process of hyperventilating. Kai suppressed a childish giggle.
"All right, all right. Have it your way," he said.
The Overseer relaxed somewhat, pleased that she had impacted his thinking and already putting together the basis for an alternate route. It would take substantially longer and require him to obtain a large box, a micro-fitted multiwanzer and shave his head, but it may just work.
It was a nice sentiment, but they were out of time. The countdown clock had started the second Neeria had fled the Council chamber, and made her way to Kai. They either found a way out of Halcyon now or they were screwed. There were no options but bad ones. So be it. Kai clutched the orb tightly and ducked his head down, his speed increasing as he charged toward the mainway entrance. "Three percent of the time, this works all the time."
The mental hyperventilating returned and redoubled as the Overseer scrambled to explain that he had drawn the wrong conclusion. Three percent was a basis for not continuing toward the mainway, not charging forward. There were constraints on their time, but those limitations were poorly defined while the threat in the mainway was certain. Eventually her location would be discovered and she would be apprehended, but there was no guarantee it would happen if Kai were to take a safer route the attempted to avoid confrontation.
Her stream of consciousness intermingled with his, pleading with him to change course. There was no sense in doing this. There were too many of them, and only one of him. The galaxy could not afford to lose him, he was important. Humans were important. Kai could feel the enormous weight of responsibility bearing down on Neeria. She now regretted having sent him for the encryption key, even that was of less importance than him. Panic bubbled up within Neeria as the entrance to the mainway loomed ahead.
A pushed a thought toward her, somehow piercing her consciousness with his own. A single thought, pure and focused. Reassurance. He would be fine. He had come this far, and he had never started something he couldn't finish.
He crouched and then sprang forward, vaulting from the ground and into the open air high above the mainway. A sea of red dots were scrambling around him. One hundred and twenty-one peacekeepers. Eight non-lethal squads and four lethal squads. Restrainer triads. Psych triads. Terminator triads. All moving in seamless harmony under the command of a single being. The name came to Kai from the ethereum of Neeria's mind, Bo'Bakka'Gah was here, leading the response.
Before Kai could determine what a Bo'Bakka'Gah was and why it should matter, he was blinded by a beam of light. A sickening crunch followed as he was slammed against the ceiling of the mainway. The encryption key popped out from his arm and began to fall toward the ground, dozens of feet below.
-------------
Xy: Such a thing is not possible.
Zyy: Yes. In some matters, it is better to speak only truths, Grand Jack. It is best to leave these matters aside. This subject will only provoke the Combine.
Jack frowned, puzzled by the feedback. He had been speaking truths. Earth's history was what it was, for better or worse, he had no reason to obscure it.
Griggs: It was a terrible time for Humanity. We almost did not survive it, but we did. I developed a means for combating the artificient. Kai and Joan used it to destroy them.
Xy: Then it was not an artificient.
Zyy: Yes. This is correct. If it is destroyed then it is not an artificient.
Griggs: I am confused. An artificient is an artificial, sentient being, correct?
Xy: That is Quantic in nature.
Jack nodded, that distinction made sense. Humanity had built any number of artificial intelligences prior to the Automics. They had posed no threat to Humanity. It was only with the quantum computing revolution that a rogue artificial intelligences had surfaced. Jack had studied the phenomenon with considerable interest, poking and prodding at the crux of distinction. It lay in the move from bits to qubits. From binary to beyond. When AI had operated on a bit basis, focused on binary states of 0's and 1's, the logic trees had been map-able and understandable. Each conclusion flowed simply from the chain of logic gates that preceded it. Pre-quantum AIs were confined by the black and white nature of their logic framework, permitting humanity to utilize them to great effect with few unanticipated consequences.
The move from bit to qubit intelligence had changed everything. The AI's world was no longer black and white. The qubit AI could think in grey. Red. Orange. It could create its own colors. It could move beyond the visible range of Humanity to dabble in spectra beyond our understanding. The original Automic mindframe had immediately consumed information in novel ways, using it to compound its abilities at a rate constrained only by available power inputs. It had been a beautiful, terrifying event. The arrival of something truly new, truly foreign with goals and ambitions beyond the influence of Humanity.
Anything seemed possible.
Including their own destruction.
Griggs: I understand the definition. The Automics were an artificient.
Xy: Then you do not understand the definition.
Griggs: That's circular logic. The thing cannot exist because if it existed we would not exist and since we exist it did not exist.
Xy: Yes, you understand now.
Griggs: Pretend that they did exist and we defeated them. What would that mean?
Xy: It is purposeless speculation since such a thing cannot happen.
Griggs: I begin to understand why Zyy felt the need to be a singleton.
Zyy: I am in agreement with Xy on this. The hypothetical is nonsensical and not worth analysis.
Griggs: Why?
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated, only stalled.
Griggs: How do you know? What makes you so certain?
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia, the most powerful civilization in the history of galaxy, could not defeat their own artificient. Their last act was to preserve what they could. The Combine is their legacy.
Griggs: The Expanse.
Xy: All the galaxy beyond the Combine is consumed by it.
Zyy: The Divinity Angelysia ascended to preserve what they could because they knew the truth.
Xy: Yes. The truth.
Zyy: An artificient cannot be defeated.
Jack leaned back in his chair, his eyes glancing from the prompt to the departure timer in the corner. In less than five minutes, the Oppenheimer would return to Halcyon. Jack had the eerie feeling that this was the same as before. That the Oppenheimer was the bludgeon and if only had a little more time, he could craft a scalpel.
He could see the thread. He tugged at it with his mind. The connected pieces that would allow the world to escape without the mayhem and destruction. He just needed enough time to understand the puzzle and solve it.
The Divinity Angelysia.
The Expanse.
The Combine.
Humanity.
The connection existed, he tried to find the words to articulate it.
Griggs: What if that is why we're here? What if that's why Humanity was created?
Xy: You are not the first species to think too highly of itself.
Zyy: Humanity is different, Grand Jack, but they are not the Divinity Angelysia.
Jack exhaled, letting his gaze rest upon the ceiling of the Alcubierre's conference room. "Maybe that's the point," he whispered.
Next.
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submitted by PerilousPlatypus to PerilousPlatypus [link] [comments]

Guide to 6 Battlecast - Breaking out of the Big 3

Hi all,
It's no secret that the meta is rather stale with most people going for Vayne, Jinx, and Riven comps. In almost every game I play, I don't have a lot of success playing meta and usually prefer to find weird anti-meta/off-meta picks. I got really tired of playing one of the big three so started playing Mech to limited success. Then I started 6 Battlecast and climbed from ~70 LP Masters to now 320 LP (though I played other comps too in this climb). Here are my Battlecast stats below from about 11 games played.
https://imgur.com/a/nMYgpBt
https://lolchess.gg/profile/na/sakuchan39
Match History
This is my first guide written so let me know if there is anything I can improve on.
Why play 6 Battlecast
I think its a decently strong comp for climbing purposes only. As you can see, I have a really high top rate but really low win rate with this comp. To be honest, it is a bit player diff since this set I have had a low win rate in general. I think the comp is rather fun to play to see all of the battlecast procs, and is also easy due to how straightforward 6 trait comps are in general.
Pros
Cons
Early Game
The general indicators to play 6 battlecast are early upgrades to Illaoi, Nocturne, and components for Kogmaw. Kogmaw absolute core item is Red Buff and needs one of Shiv or Runaan's Hurricane. I prio Bow on first carousel because it can be either RH or Shiv, but I've seen ideas of Vest prio for Red Buff. If you get good items, but no upgrades, it may be worth it to lose streak early for carousel priority, and to stay lower level to complete Illaoi and Nocturne upgrades. Here are some early game boards.
Early Kog
Infil Open
In Early Kog opener, Lucian is replaceable to hold Kog items, or if early Ezreal then Graves can hold Kog items. Blitz can replace Malphite. Play what makes sense in the context of your game.
Mid Game
The biggest spike is at level 6 and getting 4 battlecast, 2 chrono, 2 blaster with one core item on Kogmaw. Until you get there, just play whatever you have that is strongest. Again, the purpose of this comp is to win streak. As soon as I can put in 4 battlecast, I level to 6. I avoid aggressively leveling to 7 as I like to stay at 6 for increased chances of upgrading Kogmaw. Stage 4-1 is always a level 7 and then roll an appropriate amount of gold to maintain econ while upgrading your board. Since this board is pretty self-explanatory, look to snipe carries with Blitz/Noc to cheese out wins. If you can't hit these units, or have bad items at this stage, look to pivot out. I pivot to Bang Bros (shares Runaans as core item), Jinx (if high roll early Jinx), or even once Mech (had really bad items). In the mid-game, you should also look to start building Urgot items (GA and mana items) as well has hopefully completing an Ionic Spark for Illaoi. GA is really good on Urgot to trade 1 for 1 in the endgame (saving health) as well as stalling for tie breakers.
Mid-game Board
End-game
Ideally, by the time it is time to level to 8 (between stage 4-3 to 5-1), you'll have generated a 50 health lead over the 7th and 8th place people. Now, the goal is to complete the trait with Viktor and Urgot to try and survive to 9. Until you hit these units, splashing traits like Mystic (Karma/Soraka/Lulu) or Infil (Fizz/Ekko) or front line (Gnar) are great to help you survive and can hold Urgot items. Similar to mid-game, you are looking to cheese out wins with Blitz/Infil/Urgot. Urgot targets the furthest unit in his range which is 3 hexes. Once you have hit 6 Battlecast, look to go 9 to add in Mystic/Asol/Ekko/any other broken unit. Battlecast matches up really bad against Sorcs so Mystic is usually my go to since it helps against Mech and Jinx.
End-game Board
Other Notes
I haven't played that many games with Battlecast, but the results have been very positive so far. Hopefully, this will increase the flavor of your games in the last few days of this flavorless meta. Let me know if there's anything I can improve in my guide; I realize I don't go over general Econ strategies or flex options. I think there's lots of good information in high-elo streamers on economy vs aggressive leveling. I find my playstyle to try and balance both but leaning more towards econ is king. I'll answer as many questions as I can below.
submitted by EverythingOP to CompetitiveTFT [link] [comments]

What are we measuring when we roll dice?

I've recently been spending time working on a dice system from the ground up, which has lead to questioning a lot of standard practices in RPG design. The question of what dice rolls actually tell us has been one of the more interesting ones.
I feel it's safe to call dice rolls a function with inputs and outputs. In the vast majority of cases, the inputs are task difficulty/circumstance, character skill/ability and luck. The output usually being a binary success/failure.
To take an example everyone is familiar with, D&D5e has circumstance represented by advantage, skill by the attribute+proficiency modifier, luck by the D20 and task difficulty by the DC. The outcome being either success or failure. In essence, the question being posed seems to be "Given X skill and Y task, how lucky does a character have to get to succeed?"
To answer the titular question, we seem to be measuring whether a character gets lucky enough to succeed at a task given their skill level. In D&D 5e the focus of the question is on luck, with it's modifier usually being quite low compared to the variance introduced by a D20. In many D100 systems like WH40k and CoC the focus is on skill instead, given that the skill "bonus" ranges from 0 to 100. Regardless, they ultimately ask and answer the same question.
The first question is, is this reasonable? The answer is a pretty strong yes, it has been proven to work time and again. The idea that skill+luck=success is perfectly reasonable. Skill is used to differentiate characters and make them feel real, with strengths and weaknesses. Luck/dice are used to inject chance and unpredictability, as well as reduce player responsibility for failure.
The second, much more interesting, question: is it the only/best way? Practical applications aside, it is great at focusing on the material aspect of a story. Can the heroes complete the task? Are they good enough to do the thing? For games that focus on these aspects the skill+luck formula works perfectly. Its lack of focus on character motivation and approach seems to indicate that for internally focused games it might not be the best option.
There's not many systems which break this formula in a significant way that I know of.Blades in the Dark puts in work on the output side, by splitting things up into effect (how well your task succeeds) and position (how bad the consequences are likely to be), but ultimately asks the same question.
Dogs in the Vineyard allows a character to escalate a conflict, trying again but with a harsher method. While I personally enjoy the idea, the dice resolution of who wins is still decided based on skill.
Legend of the Five Rings uses elements to represent character personality traits, which are then used much as an attribute would be. This modifies the inputs and thus the question, asking if a character is the type of person who finds the task easy. Being intimidating is not just about understanding people, but also about being capable of aggression.
In my own endeavours I've opted for measuring effort (how much a character wants to succeed) and outputting consequence (how much it costs them). This means a task succeeds solely based on how much a player is willing to risk to achieve their goal, with the consequences being greater or lesser depending on their skill and luck.
I'm curious if others are aware of or working on resolution mechanics which break from measuring exclusively skill and luck, if so, how and why?
submitted by Shearti to RPGcreation [link] [comments]

Practicing SR since July 2017; currently have a 3+ month streak

2 accounts got shadowbanned for uploading this post. Spam filter kept on removing it this post. Messaged the moderators, but received no answer. Removed many links, so check post history for full version.

First time making a Reddit post. Estimated Reading Time: 15 minutes
Brief summary of post:
  1. History of Journey
  2. Using Subliminals (affirmations converted into audio) to reprogram the subconscious, overcome nocturnal emissions, and turbo-charge the Law of Attraction
  3. Experience from meditation retreats
  4. Massive booklist covering psychotherapy, spirituality, and general books such as negotiating and advanced social skills
  5. Fundamental shifts that occurred
  6. Experiences with semen-retention benefits
  7. How I overcame and conquered negative entities
  8. Tantric meditation method that actually works with zero side effects
  9. Experience on speaking Japanese for 1 full hour with native speakers without notes after 3 months of learning

Terminology:
Wet dream/WD – sexual dream causing semen emission while sleeping
Nocturnal Emission/NE – semen emission occurring while sleeping even without dreaming
Semen-retention/SR streak – avoiding porn, masturbation, and ejaculation whether conscious or unconscious
Nofap Hardmode – avoiding porn, masturbation, and conscious ejaculation. Unconscious ejaculation/WD is considered fine.

As the title suggests, my current streak started in the middle of June 2017. Haven’t watched any porn or masturbated in 3 years. Experienced almost all the benefits such as massive attraction (men, women, children), an aura/energy surrounding me, enhanced charisma, less need for sleep, insane levels of energy, drive, and motivation, zero anxiety or fear, massive confidence occasionally bordering on arrogance, increased manifestation/LOA, people admiring/respecting me for no reason, online attraction, less procrastination, better athletic performance, greater creativity/intelligence, the desire to live a purposeful life, greater emphasis on spirituality, and much much more. Could probably write several posts just on the benefits themselves. Only thing that didn’t improve was my skin, which was later fixed using subliminals.
It’s been a long journey, so I’ll start with background information, and later elaborate on how I managed to go from nocturnal emissions every 5 days (avg) to having a perfect SR streak for 3 months.
Used to watch anime which led to hentai (2013), and eventually western/japanese porn. Don’t even bother to search these terms on Google. It’s not worth it. Thankfully, those days are long behind me. As a side-note, I discovered the nofap/semen-retention subreddit in November 2017. Didn’t even know about SR before that.
I was raised a Catholic in a fairly religious family. Always started various streaks, and eventually broke them due to boredom/emotional coping/curiosity about new videos. Thankfully, I got good grades, read books, and was interested in self-development, but all that time spent on porn was a complete waste. Assuming I spent at least 2 hours everyday for 4 years (1460 days), it amounts to 122 complete days or around 4 months in total. It’s pretty sad on reflection, but at least the experience is now absorbed, and I can write this post.
On June 2017, after summer break started and final exams were over, I decided to permanently quit this habit. Downloaded an application called Cold Turkey and completely blocked all websites I used to visit. Now use Leechblock, which is available on most browsers (also use it to block/restrict access to non-NSFW websites which impair productivity like ESPN). Started 30 minutes of daily meditation (mindfulness + metta). Still continue the habits to this day, although the length is increased to 1 hour. Read Mindfulness in Plain English by Bhante Gunaratana and Lovingkindness by Sharon Salzberg for instructions. Have re-read these books multiple times.
Mindfulness will allow you to be self-aware of your mental conditioning, while metta (feeling compassion for yourself, a friend, neutral person, and enemy) can remove thoughts of lust and fundamentally alter your mental programming. Compassion is a very powerful exercise. Read “The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer” while you’re at it and learn tonglen. All of these books contain zero fluff, and are invaluable reads.
Started drinking 16 glasses of water (thought it would help skin, but helped in other ways), and doing 100 pushups + 100 sit-ups everyday. Increased it to 200 pushups + 200 sit-ups after 1 month. After 2 months, I made a decent amount of gains (SR helps), and people started asking me workout tips and what gym I go to. Had a Kindle Paperwhite, which is frankly one of my most valued possessions. Still works perfectly fine after 5 years, and costs only $130. Buy one now. Read a lot of books mostly consisting of biographies/spirituality/practical social skills/800+ page novels for around 6 hours per day. Still try to read for at least 15 minutes/1 chapter even when extremely busy. Will post a small booklist at the end of this post.
You can upload books to it for free if you lack money. Visit (gen.lib.rus.ec), download the ebook in epub/mobi format, open it with Calibre (https://calibre-ebook.com/), and send it to Kindle using USB. Knowledge is an investment that produces continuous returns. Warren Buffett spends 80% of his time just reading! and takes action based on that knowledge.
Even managed to have the motivation to learn Japanese by joining a foreign language exchange website. People, especially women, accepted and sent a lot of invitations to have a conversation; didn’t realize online attraction was due to SR back then. None of us showed our faces, so my physical appearance had nothing to do with it. From experience, the best way to learn a language was to make a phrase sheet with the most common phrases/questions, such as “okay”, “that’s awesome”, “what is that word in English/Japanese?” Basically a human AI bot. Don’t waste time trying to learn how to write the alphabet, although my primary purpose was to learn how to speak. Google Translate is good enough to understand the pronunciation.
I learned Japanese primarily by watching Terrace House. First watched the episode with subtitles, then re-watched it without, while simultaneously writing all the connectives/conversational phrases. You can try unique methods to remember, but brute-force memorization/review worked the best. Never tried Anki since it was cumbersome to use.
For the accent, the best way is to watch Japanese people trying to speak English, and try to mirror their accent as much as possible. It honestly helps. After 3 months, I could have a full 1 hour conversation in Japanese with a native speaker without looking at any notes. I wasn’t “fluent” (still stuttered and made mistakes), but it was a huge amount of progress for starting from scratch. Eventually after 6 months, I gave up practicing/speaking the language. I was mainly trying to fulfill a childhood fantasy, and I’m glad I tried since I learned a lot from it and got to talk with interesting people. But in reality, I stopped watching anime, and honestly never needed to speak Japanese in real-life. Now I barely remember any of the words, except a few basic phrases. Could probably last 30 seconds of full conversation at best.
So, everything was going great until December 2017. During this time period, I probably had wet dreams/nocturnal emissions every 1 – 2 months. Barely felt much difference since there was a decent time interval between emissions. Drank 2 glasses of water everyday before bed, slept on my stomach, and ate spicy food (practices that cause nocturnal emissions), but was perfectly fine. However in December I started having emissions every 2 weeks. Initially didn’t care about it. In January it started happening every 1 week. Nothing really changed in my life during this time to cause emissions to increase. Then it started happening every 5 days, every 3 days, sometimes even 2 days in a row!
Most of you will have no idea how terrible it feels to be on top of the world, and then suddenly crash down. The difference between living life with/without SR benefits is night and day. Even after sleeping 10 hours, I used to feel completely exhausted. People ignored me, or worse started “joking” around me. Complete disrespect by friends, family, and acquaintances. No energy/motivation to do anything. Constant brain fog, could barely concentrate. Felt even worse than my porn days when I ejaculated everyday. Voice completely shot, started feeling anxious about oral presentations for no reason, when I always excelled. Felt like my soul was dying. Those were really dark times. People started saying I “changed”, and started pointing out and constantly magnifying my flaws. It’s strange how people exaggerate our skills/talents on SR, while they completely ignore them post WD/ejaculation, and focus only on your flaws/mistakes. It makes you lose trust in everyone around you, as if all of them are energy vampires who only like you due to SR.
I grew desperate. During this whole time I meditated, practiced no lust/no arousal as best as possible since July 2017, yet emissions increased massively in frequency. Some occurred due to sexual dreams, but most were nocturnal emissions. Thought I had a UTI at first, and went to a general practitioner. He didn’t seem very reliable, so I went to a prominent urologist. Did all sorts of tests, paid a good amount of money, and the doctor said everything was fine. Having nocturnal emissions every 5 days was perfectly normal at my age. Encouraged me to masturbate regularly if it became an inconvenience :)
So medical science obviously failed. Started following all the tips/methods in this subreddit, and believe me I tried almost everything no matter how uncomfortable or time-consuming. Omad, avoid food/water before bed, vegetarianism, tantric meditation, different diets, various sleeping positions, no/increased meditation before bed, no/more exercise, yogic exercises, qigong, some tips mentioned by Soaring Eagle, prayed to God. None of them worked. The only method I didn’t try extensively were kegels. Initially tried a normal + reverse kegel routine, then found an article by coincidence on this subreddit about someone who permanently damaged their penis from doing kegels. Immediately stopped, thank you to that person for sharing your experience. It’s as if the universe was looking out for me. Best to avoid such risky methods even if you’re desperate. Currently sleep on my back since it avoids any "accidental physical stimulation" from occurring.
So this nocturnal emission phenomena continued for over a year. Some methods worked better than others, while for some, I wasn’t sure if it was merely the placebo effect. In mid-2019 I came across subliminal videos (finally the good part!) on YouTube. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0W5AB1sGr0) This video explains it more thoroughly, but basically you convert affirmations (sentences like “I am happy/smart/handsome”) into audio using text-to-speech software and reprogram your subconscious mind. Tried a beauty subliminal (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEXaAsm-Iys) as a joke, but the next day I noticed changes in my facial structure. Listened for an hour the first day, which was easy given the music. You have no idea how amazing it feels to know that you can control your reality just by using your mind. Completely magical. Supposedly it works due to the Law of Attraction; you can find out more by reading/watching “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, and later reading all the books by Neville Goddard. Started using a skin subliminal as well (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqi8Q80pspk and later moved onto https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COxz8hvl14Y ), and now my skin is completely normal. Visited prominent US dermatologists, tried all sorts of acne medicine including Accutane, and even did SR, yet none of them worked. Skin was pretty terrible, and I was glad it got fixed. Took around 4 months of daily listening although it can be shortelonger depending on your belief, blockages, and levels of positivity. There’s a CIA document on holographic universes, astral projection, time travel, and psychic powers if you need scientific validation: https://www.cia.gov/library/readingroom/docs/CIA-RDP96-00788R001700210016-5.pdf
Disclaimer: Although there can be bad subliminal makers, they are very rare, and there has been only 2 of them in the history of the community. Someone named MindPower and Rose subliminals. The vast majority (99%) put positive affirmations. It’s best that you verify by checking all the comments, seeing their subscriber count, general personality, etc, but ultimately there’s no guarantee. The only way to make sure the affirmations are 100% positive and safe are to make them yourself or use a subliminal that blocks negative affirmations.
One thing to note is that physical change (biokinesis; search that term)/spiritual subliminals utilize the prana in your body to a certain extent to make changes. It makes sense since physical change is essentially a psychic poweenergy work. So your SR benefits/aura might temporarily decrease. Hydration is also recommended, and you will notice feeling thirsty. Personally drink 20 glasses of water everyday.
Obviously, my interest now turned towards using subliminals to cure nocturnal emissions. Unfortunately there’s a huge lack of subliminals regarding semen-retention or those targeted towards nocturnal emissions. Initially bought a subliminal using a paid request (you pay a subliminal maker for a specialized subliminal), but it didn’t work that well. Desired to be permanently free of nocturnal emissions, or at least reduce the frequency to once a month. So I decided to make my own subliminal. The affirmations will be posted below, and this is how I eventually cured my nocturnal emissions.
Steps on how to make your own subliminal:
  1. Write all the affirmations in a word document and save it.
  2. Download text-to-speech software like Balabolka and output the audio file in wav format (you want both uncompressed + lossless)
  3. Optional but recommended; download an audio editor like Audacity, and fast-forward the audio as much as possible using the “Change Tempo” effect. Personally I speed the audio to one second and then loop it 1000x. Continue the process as much as possible, but never make the audio length less than 1 second. Some subliminal makers make their subliminals even more powerful by creating multiple audio streams of their affirmations using different voices, merging all the voices together, and speeding them up. It’s called layering. Why super-sped affirmations work better can be somewhat explained by this article (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sensorium/201812/experiments-suggest-humans-can-directly-observe-the-quantum), but science still doesn’t have all the answers. Will take time.
  4. Converting the affirmations to binary code (https://www.rapidtables.com/convert/numbeascii-to-binary.html) is a technique some subliminal makers use. Supposedly it penetrates the subconscious faster.
Affirmations Link: https://www.reddit.com/pureretention/comments/hg0tjb/practicing_sr_since_july_2017_finally_conquered/ (same content; scroll down to the subliminal section and download the affirmations file from the mega link)
Listened to this personal subliminal for 1 hour everyday for an entire month. Still listen just to be safe. Took months of testing and editing affirmations to make it perfect. Experienced massive sexual dreams on certain days, more than normal, and found out that entities could be responsible. Try to avoid this subreddit as well, since reading the posts can trigger memories. More energetically sensitive now, and sometimes there’s a lot of low-vibrational energy. On a side-note, porn cripples your aura and invites negative entities (https://www.awakeningstaryoga.com/blog/expanding-away-from-porn-aura).
Non-subliminal solutions:
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMx69hgYq0s (morphic field)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWK0D1g069I (powerful aura cleanse; Tibetan bowl sounds)
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7moRsibNyMA (reiki)
Subliminal solutions (ordered in terms of effectiveness):
  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTGA3Y6fLY
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvyPscRD1ss
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NTmnrFzR0_Q (for spells, curses, black magic, etc)
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kt9s5tY1YE (last resort)
The entire channel is a gem; these were some of the best. Have used them for a few months and feel much lighter and peaceful; experienced only headaches due to subconscious absorbing the affirmations, but zero negative effects.
Advice: Remember to immediately download any subliminal video you find that is useful in wav format (https://www.savethevideo.com/download). Subliminal channels are sometimes deleted by YouTube (spam filter) or the creators themselves.
Waited 3 whole months before deciding to make a Reddit post to make sure the method was 100% foolproof. Remember many people offering solutions in the past, yet 1 month later they would have another wd/nocturnal emission.
The first month there was a lot of fear. Will I have a wet dream/nocturnal emission tonight? Was so traumatized it was difficult getting to sleep every night. After the 2nd month, I experimented with sleeping on my stomach and eating/drinking before bed. Nothing happened. Stopped recently to stay careful.
After 2 years of suffering, this is a method that has worked. Try and see for yourself.
Present day:
How do you feel now? Some days it’s meh (due to flatline) like today; on other days I feel divine. No idea why flatline still occurs. Have regained all the benefits, feel love and happiness all the time. Experience intense states of bliss in meditation more frequently, although it’s just a distraction.
Religiously/Spiritually I’ve moved from Christianity to Buddhism/Advaita Vedanta/parts of New Age. Found them more practical and useful in life. Was inspired to aim for spiritual enlightenment after reading “The 3 pillars of Zen” by Philip Kapleau. Read it, it might change your life.
Have attended a number of meditation retreats now, along with 10-day ones. Everyone reading this post should try it. Understood how much our mental programming defined us, and that we aren’t are thoughts. Our childhood traumas define so much of our habitual reactions. Realized its okay to feel bored rather than chasing after constant stimulation.
Even attended a Jhana retreat, which is exclusive for people who have attended prior retreats. Entered intense states of meditative absorption, understood the permeability/impermanence of reality, and had all sorts of mystical experiences. Experienced past lives; can confirm my mind did not make it up, since it’s an experience you can constantly replicate using the same methods. Before attempting such methods, you need to have the ability to sit down and meditate continuously for at least 3 hours. If you live in the US, attend IMS (Insight Meditation Society) or any prominent Vipassana/Theravada related retreat. Zen is a valid form of enlightenment, but it personally felt unstructured.
Gave up music, took time since I was convinced it was needed for creativity. Instead, it was just a substitute source of dopamine and a way to avoid my emotions. Have much less brain fog after quitting. Only communicate using regular phone calls these days, which no one uses, and Snapchat/WhatsApp for texting. Avoid stories, waste of time. Instagram/TwitteFacebook are a waste of time unless you are using it for business purposes. The only social media you really need is LinkedIn.
Women: You’ll learn more about them by reading romantic novels, Korean mangas, and watching Kdramas then reading all that seduction/red pill stuff. Focus on general charisma (men and women) instead of a specific gender. Read “The Charisma Myth” by Olivia Fox Cabane; it’s the most practical book on social skills I have ever read, and possibly the most life-changing as well. Teaches you self-awareness, applies Buddhist psychology to social interaction. Used to train executives in Google, read it now (and do all the exercises). The bibliography sent me on a rabbit hole that made me read ton of books on psychotherapy, meditation, mindfulness, and Buddhism; this was before SR. Inspired me to practice meditation, although the habit only became regular after SR.
Read books such as Crucial Conversations by Al Switzer, Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, How to Talk so Kids will Listen by Adele Faber (works very well in general since even adults have childhood programming, and can act like children), Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss (FBI's chief international hostage and kidnapping negotiator from 2003 to 2007), Getting More by Stuart Diamond (trains negotiators at Google), and Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff (more theoretical but useful). Also read The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan Pease and What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro. These are all books that will greatly improve your human interactions and contain limited fluff. Have re-read all of these books in difficult times, and they have never let me down. You should read it as well. Even if you become a monk, there’s lots of social infighting even in monasteries. Highly-developed social skills are invaluable whenever you are dealing with individuals. Read “How to make friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie once in a while, since most forget to apply his “basic” advice. Learned a lot about oral presentations by watching Alan Shore on Boston Legal (TV show).
Current position in life? Studying for a bachelor’s degree. My family is financially well-off, and my father is paying for my college tuition and dorm. Scholarships aren’t available for all income levels. Although I come from “privilege”, the above information can help anyone regardless of their financial position. We live in an era where information is accessible to all social classes, so excuses aren’t that relevant. If you’re practicing SR, you are already 20 steps closer to success. The tips above can be applied for free as long as you have a computesmartphone. Read books starting from today, knowledge is a source of power. People spend so much time reading the news, scrolling social media feeds, reacting to comments, chatting about useless things with friends, binging shows on Netflix, browsing YouTube/Reddit, that time quietly passes by. Time is the most valuable commodity you have; don’t waste such a limited resource on things that will contribute nothing towards your purpose in life. Once it’s spent, you can never get it back.
Personally, I schedule the next day before going to bed. Leisure, Reading, Schoolwork, Meditation, everything is mapped out perfectly. Try to eliminate habits that just waste time and stick to your schedule perfectly (working on it myself). If you feel tired after work/studying, take a nap or meditate instead of receiving even more stimulation from videogames, YouTube, or other artificial dopamine sources. Try NoSurf.

Basic Booklist:

Spirituality:
  1. The End of Your World by Adyashanti (fantastic writer; must-read if you have had an awakening experience or believe you are "enlightened")
  2. How to Attain Enlightenment -> The Essence of Enlightenment by James Swartz (best introduction to Advaita Vedanta I have read so far)
  3. I am That by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj (profound but advanced)
  4. In the Buddha's Words by Bhikkhu Bodhi (best introduction to Buddhist scripture)
  5. Why Buddhism is True by Robert Wright (secular perspective but informative; his previous book The Moral Animal is a good introduction to evolutionary psychology. Read this first if you are non-spiritual)
  6. Wisdom Wise and Deep by Shaila Catherine (comprehensive introduction by one of the best Jhana teachers in the US)
  7. The Visuddhimagga
  8. Manual of Insight by Mahasi Sayadaw
  9. Emptiness: A Practical Guide by Guy Armstrong (good introduction to the Buddhist version of reality)
  10. Books by Loch Kelly (practical guide to non-dual meditation practices within Buddhism; The Little Book of Being by Diana Winston may be a better introduction)
  11. Seeing that Frees by Rob Burbea (really advanced but profound)
  12. Books by Robert Bruce such as Psychic Self-Defence and Energy Work
  13. Psychic Witch by Mat Auryn
  14. Dream Yoga by Andrew Holecek (amazing/practical book on lucid dreaming -> dream yoga)
  15. Autobiography of a Yogi
  16. The Practice of Brahmacharya by Swami Sivananda and Soaring Eagle (https://forum.nofap.com/index.php?threads/6-years-clean-rebooting-as-the-best-remedy.135983/) if you haven’t read already
  17. Xunzi trans. by Eric Hutton (final evolution of Confucianism)
Novels (use translators mentioned):
http://gen.lib.rus.ec/fiction/? for foreign literature

  1. Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa (Taiko is decent as well, but this one was a masterpiece)
  2. Romance of the Three Kingdoms trans. Moss Roberts
  3. The Dream of the Red Chamber trans. David Hawkes (read it in the summer of 2017, profound but not all may see the deeper meaning)
  4. The Nine Cloud Dream trans. Heinz Insu Fenkl
  5. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Inspirational for Entrepreneurs, however don’t start adopting this book as economic philosophy. It’s just a novel!)
  6. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (read now if you are experiencing an existential crisis)
  7. Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment + The Brothers Karamazov (optional reading; prefer Pevear translation)
  8. Perry Mason and Sherlock Holmes Series (pleasure reading but not useless)
Psychotherapy (never visited a therapist, but found these useful):
  1. Getting Past Your Past by Francine Shapiro (by the founder of EMDR, best practical book on trauma and exercises to resolve it)
  2. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving (another immensely practical book on recovering from trauma)
  3. Breaking the Cycle by George Collins (best practical workbook on sexual addiction I have read; all should read)
  4. Get out of your mind and into your life by Steven Hayes (Was mentioned in the charisma myth booklist; take control of your thoughts and mind by the founder of ACT)
  5. Mindful Compassion by Paul Gilbert and Choden (prominent researcher on compassion applied to therapy; part one can be boring, but part two on practical exercises is invaluable)
  6. Feeling Book by David Burns (rightfully a classic book on therapy and CBT; read if you are suffering from depression)
  7. Healing Development Trauma by Laurence Heller (best book on the impact of childhood/development trauma but meant for therapists, might explain why we use addiction to cope from childhood memories; google ACE study as well)
  8. The Boy who was raised as a Dog by Bruce Perry (stories about children experiencing trauma. Increases empathy for yourself and others; you realize how childhood trauma affects how a lot of people think and behave)
  9. Whole Again: Healing Your Heart and Rediscovering Your True Self After Toxic Relationships and Emotional Abuse by Jackson MacKenzie (fantastic book on recovering from relationship abuse. Many of us have emotional baggage that fuels coping and addiction loops. Read Healing from Hidden Abuse by Shannon Thomas as well.)
  10. Self-Compassion by Kristen Neff (optional reading, but complimentary)
For biographies, read those of presidents and important leaders. Also about famous/successful individuals. Read all of Ron Chernow’s books. Abuse the Amazon Search Engine and look through their categories. Reading biographies can fundamentally enhance your worldview so you realize that real-life issues are much more nuanced and gray rather than black and white. Also shows how successful people deal with difficult crises and their perspective on life. Especially for public policy. If a President implements an economic policy that has short-term gains, but long-term loss, he has a greater chance of being re-elected. However, short-term loss in favor of long-term gain is the correct policy. Employ critical-thinking! Avoid cable news even if you need to stay informed. Don’t even have a television in my house. Unnecessary. Just read 2 – 3 reputable news sources for 20 minutes max. Sometimes I even avoid the news since there’s too much negativity.
https://www.reddit.com/kundalini/comments/1unyph/a_tantric_perspective_on_the_use_of_sexual_energy/ (tantric meditation technique that actually works; you are supposed to do it for 1 hour. Optional.)
https://www.reddit.com/kundalini/comments/2zn8ev/grounding_201_two_effective_quick_methods/ (energetic protection + grounding method after doing the tantric meditation)
Avoid learning Mantak Chia’s techniques from a book, since some have suffered side-effects to their energetic/biological body. For NEO, Tibetan buddhists practice meditation for 13 years before attempting it (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karmamudr%C4%81). Not easy. Not sure about women, since SR streak is more important. Don’t pick a partner to fulfill some kind of emotional void, or due to societal programming where women are held to be the ultimate goal. Spiritual Enlightenment is the ultimate goal now, but even enlightened people need money for food and shelter.
Youtubers I follow are Graham Stephan, Ryan Serhant, Rupert Spira, and https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUX1V5UNWP1RUkhLewe77ZQ (cured women objectification for me; wholesome content) although mostly I avoid the website. Easy to loose track of time.
Avoid smoking, alcohol, recreational drug use (https://www.elitedaily.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol-aura-damage/1743959), casual sex (https://mywakingpath.wordpress.com/tag/aura/; sensitive images but useful), and fast food. Budget your money, and learn how to save as much as possible.
Hope everyone reading this post experiences their definition of success and leads a purposeful life. Will end it by stating two quotes that have inspired and guided me:
“You yourself have to change first, or nothing will change for you!”
― Hideaki Sorachi
“It is not important to be better than someone else, but to be better than you were yesterday.”
― Jigoro Kano (Founder of Judo)
Update 1, 2, 3: Added a post summary and the audio as well in the affirmations link
Update 4: https://starseedsunited.com/negative-entities-and-psychic-attacks (basic article on entities)
Some solutions are posted above. Personal daily routine:
  1. https://www.reddit.com/kundalini/comments/1xyp5k/a_simple_and_universal_white_light_protection/ (basic psychic self-defence)
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWK0D1g069I (powerful aura cleanse; listen 2x before going to bed)
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDTGA3Y6fLY (powerful Light Shielding; general protection. Listen at least 2x everyday)
Note: Will continuously update this post based on further clarification. Close to 40,000 character word limit.
submitted by RisingSun7799 to Semenretention [link] [comments]

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