The Distributed Idea Suppression Complex (The DISC)
The distributed idea suppression complex (DISC) describes the emergent phenomenon of widespread, semi-independent idea suppression. The idea was first introduced in Episode 15 of The Portal Podcast and described in detail in Episode 18. Eric has said he believes this might be the most important concept that we will be dealing with on a going-forward basis in 2020 on The Portal. It's the complex of structures that resulted in fantastic income inequality & unrest breaking out all over the Americas.
Defining its properties
- The center of it is idea suppression.
- It is not under central control.
- It is a loosely coupled emergent structure.
- The DISC is actually a complex.
- It is a large collection of different structures,
- and it's not controlled in any one place.
- Many of these have emerged separately.
- A particular component of the DISC is that it protects institutions from individuals who are making valid and reasonable points.
- It does *not* usually try to ensure that you can’t find the story. It may even bring up the story tangentially in something like a “To be sure...” paragraph or in occasional features.
- It merely ensures that the reality now paved over never becomes operational.
Origin of the complex
So, if you imagine that the institutions have become incredibly fragile because they're in fact built for growth, and that plan for their growth obligates them to tell untruths, and to hide certain characteristics, because they are not, in fact, able to grow at the rates in which they are supposed to—you need some complex for making sure that that information doesn't reach the bottom entrance to a pyramid structure.
Quotes defining the concept
From episode 18
From the episode Description
This "housekeeping" (cough cough) episode of The Portal is only for the hard core listeners who launched this experiment with us. This year we begin to take on the idea of the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex or "DISC".
From "Terms of Service" changes, to selective enforcement of rules, peer review, "Strategic Silence", 'authoritative sources only', deboosting, shadow banning, down ranking, "unbiasing", "Good Censorship", 'diversity and inclusion' oaths, 'cancel culture', no-platforming, mob shaming, certification requirements, "trust and safety" and quality control, we are surrounded by others interested in various forms of idea suppression who would prefer to work in private. Obviously some, but not all, of those ideas are truly dangerous. But many of those ideas never reached us because they threatened institutional players rather than public safety.
This is the year we begin to do the unthinkable: attempt to fully reveal and slip the DISC. Stay tuned to the Portal for 2020. Or feel free to unsubscribe right now before we change it up...hope to see you soon.
Quotes from episode 18
The most important ideas are likely to be the ideas that are most disruptive. What if the entire food pyramid, for example, was wildly off? What if fats were not the great danger we thought they were, and those waving fields of wheat that are fabled an American song, in fact, give rise to carbs, which are very dangerous to us all? So if everything were inverted, let's say, we're in a world where instead of banishing volatility during the so-called great moderation before 2008, we were actually building the tinder for the world's largest financial forest fire. What if in fact we had all sorts of things exactly backwards and completely wrong? What if diversity wasn't always a sign of our strength, but sometimes a sign of our weakness? What if, for example, immigration, far from being an issue of xenophobes versus xenophiles, was actually an instrument of redistribution having very little to do with xenophobia or xenophilia to begin with?
These sorts of ideas can't be entertained inside of the Gated Institutional Narrative. And that's where the gating function comes in. What was originally a function intended to ensure quality control of the narrative became an instrument for something else. And this is where I want to introduce the most important concept that I think we will be dealing with on a going-forward basis in 2020 on this program, the DISC. What is the DISC? The DISC stands for the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex.
Now, taking it apart, the center of it is idea suppression. Not all ideas are good. And so, idea suppression is very frequently understood as an important concept when we're talking about something like bigotry, where we're talking about something like violent ideology. Of course, you want to suppress certain ideas. But these are not the ideas that are principally important inside of the disk. The disk is actually a complex. It is a large collection of different structures, and it's not controlled in any one place. Many of these have emerged separately. But what makes an aspect of the DISC—what shows you a particular component, is that it protects institutions from individuals who are making valid and reasonable points. So, if you imagine that the institutions have become incredibly fragile because they're in fact built for growth, and that plan for their growth obligates them to tell untruths, and to hide certain characteristics, because they are not, in fact, able to grow at the rates in which they are supposed to—you need some complex for making sure that that information doesn't reach the bottom entrance to a pyramid structure.
In all of these cases, we see a very bizarre behavior inside of the news media. That is that when the candidate starts to gain traction with the public, they become left off of lists. They become misreported—very often a reporter will stand in front of the graphic that has that particular candidate alongside others, and we don't really know why this is occurring. We don't know how these instructions are going out. But in the case of Andrew Yang because this is taking place in a highly connected internet era, we have people chronicling all of the myriad ways in which Andrew Yang's candidacy is distorted. In particular, there appears to be a different level of distortion taking place at one particular news media outlet.
We need to better understand exactly what is the political economy of the news.
Quotes from episode 19
Okay. I want to talk about something I'm calling the DISC, the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex, and it has nothing to do with Richard Dawkins and peer review and Jerry Coyne and a bunch of other things that almost nobody cares about. It has to do with about a 50 year period in which great ideas got buried no matter where they occurred. Because great ideas were very likely to be highly disruptive to an institutional order. And between you and your wife, and me and my wife, three of our four theses ran into incredible problems, because they were trying to break really new ground. And the amount of delay that you suffered, I mean you're now 50 years old. This is a very late start in a career. You're coming from a very inauspicious place. You've been fitted with a story, which is “He's a sweet guy who stood up to a mob and that's his claim to fame” and you're not really understanding that you're not being taken fully seriously as a biologist. In part what Jerry Coyne is saying to you is, “Hey, you're really unknown to us. I'm at Chicago. Richard Dawkins was at Oxford.” You know, he was the Simoni professor for the -
Eric: Look, you see the same thing with like string theory because none of the reporters are actually string theorists, so they're dependent upon this. You saw this with this woman alleging that she had the Epstein story three years earlier, but that the editors said, well, we might lose access to the baby pictures of the Royal grandchildren like, you know, you're seeing this with catch and kill. There's this, I mean, I want you to take this seriously. You're just showing a part of what I'm calling the DISC, the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex. We have 50 years of such stories, and it happens that in our family, three out of four of us created such a story trying to get a PhD. And the idea for me is that every time you have to go into some closed system, like, there's a committee meeting or there's a blue ribbon commission or there's a peer review process, or there's a, what do they call them, the panels—study groups, for grants. That's where the DISC lives. We know that it's localized to the things that protect the integrity of science. It's an autoimmune disease, where what we have is an ability to stop highly disruptive ideas from getting a hearing in the general population of experts, by virtue of the fact that a carefully chosen group of experts can stop publication. Because look, if you're wrong about this stuff, there's a cost. It's not, it's not cheap.
Eric's Quotes from Twitter about the DISC
The enemy is the DISC. Its the complex of structures that resulted in fantastic income inequality & unrest breaking out all over the Earth globe americas. It is what keeps Jamie Dimon safe from Len Bole. David Baltimore from Margot O’Toole. Biden safe from Yang. Institutions safe from Individuals. https://twitter.com/EricRWeinstein/status/1217886561196339200
But where do we start? As the Distributed Idea Suppression Complex, it isn’t under central control. It is a loosely coupled emergent structure. But the most obvious sector is the one which has fallen the farthest because it once grew the quickest: the modern research university.
The first goal of The Portal is to install a Portal allowing young researchers in our STEM departments and Research Universities to avoid being subjected to submission to these instutions. No loyalty oaths. No signing over your intellectual property. No theft of your retirement.
I don’t want you having to submit your work to an anonymous referee if you don’t trust that process. What if it is an unethical competitor? What if your advisor is jealous of you or has come to dislike you? You and your work need adult options. You are a scientist not an infant.
You have a right to unionize. You have a right to know if your department can’t place its graduates into professorships and is blaming you for its failures. You have a right not to be subjected to the intellectual “Droit du seigneur” that has come over “graduate training”.
And what do I want in exchange for trying this? Selfishly, I am about to take on a fair amount of negativity and risk so I would be honored to be mentioned in your thesis acknowledgements if I can help get you a real income and the rights to your own work. But I want more.
What I most want is that you have the courage I lacked. I couldn’t imagine standing up to Harvard.
I want you to swing for the fucking fences w/ your research. I want you to remember that we need you to get out of our stagnation. I want you to believe pathologically in yourself.
So let’s go after the exhaust vent in the DISC. Let’s get you a future. Jobs in the same city as the one you love. Careers while you‘re young. Let’s get you savings for retirement & help raising your kids.
But to make this work: stop fetishizing “identity” & build our future.Folded hands
The DISC does *not* usually try to ensure that you can’t find the story. It may even bring up the story tangentially in something like a “To be sure...” paragraph or in occasional features. It merely ensures that the reality now paved over never becomes operational.
The story of the disappearance of these towns and the treatment of their residents is an active act of daily forgetting. Supposed free market conservatives were looking to confiscate property rights of home owners below market value & willing to wield the power of the state.
This resulted in twin narratives:
A) The instutional “Go Dodger Blue!” narrative about a team and a stadium.
B) The “Chavez Ravine” narrative about the awesome power of the state to destroy any illusion of property rights and abuse of extraordinary powers against the powerless.
This story will continue to be told...only generally not on game days. Yet every once in a while the two narratives, instutional and personal, collide ever so briefly. That is when the DISC slips.
It may not have been paradise, but they did indeed put up a parking lot...
Don’t ask your questions.
Don’t admit you don’t understand.
Don’t question experts.
Don’t listen to heterodoxy.
Don’t associate with iconoclasts.
Don’t befriend the other party.
Don’t criticize your own fringe.
Don’t be gauche.
Terms of service
Catch & Kill
Blue Ribbon Panel
Trust and Safety
Tin Foil Hat
Eric's Twitter Threads
List of Suppressed Ideas
People in the Discord were saying that it might be a good idea to start compiling this list.
We should aim for more descriptive lists of proof (using The Yang Media Blackout as a reference, where specific examples are evident)
- Yang Media Blackout
- A visual history of the Yang Media Blackout
- The Media Ignoring Tulsi Gabbard
- Healthcare Economics
- Lord Voldemort's Senate confirmation 
- Joe Biden’s troubling history with young girls and women
Examples of the DISC in action
The DISC in Academia
- Antipode by Heather Heying
- Article Retraction: X-ray observations of PSR B0355+54 and its pulsar wind nebula, NSF Director France A. Córdova
- Article Correction: Impacts of High Resolution Data on Traveler Compliance Levels in Emergency Evacuation Simulations, National Academy of Sciences, Mapping Science Committee member Budhendra Bhaduri
- Pia Malaney ResearchGate
The Failure of Peer Review
Margot O'Toole, Imanishi-Kari & David Baltimore story
Examples of idea suppression from the DISC
- "Terms of Service" changes,
- Catch & kill
- Blue Ribbon Panel
- selective enforcement of rules,
- peer review,
- "Strategic Silence",
- 'authoritative sources only',
- Strategic Silence
- shadow banning,
- down ranking,
- "Good Censorship",
- 'diversity and inclusion' oaths,
- 'cancel culture',
- ML fairness
- 'Tin Foil Hat'
- mob shaming,
- certification requirements,
- "trust and safety"
- quality control,