Monday, January 16, 2017

SJW offense hyper-trauma as a gift-of-the-spirit

Over the last few years I've been saying that social justice zealotry appears to conform to functional religious dynamics.  This means that while it might not be as supernatural as religion, the dynamics it produces are, nonetheless, similar.  I tend to use Atran as my base for these discussions.

Increasing social justice demonstrations of hyper-offence trauma show another similarity with (quasi) religion.

Gifts of the spirit are normally interpreted as things useful for fulfilling the mission of the Christian church.  Many of these things are related to organizational processes.  Others are related to social dynamics.  It's the latter that I want to focus on.

Here we have to delve a bit into some of the idiosyncrasies of Christian theology.  Some theologians distinguish fruits of the sprit with signs of the spirit.  To me that distinction is rather arbitrary.  The former tends to focus on long term demonstrables (e.g. kindness) while the latter tends to focus on episodic phenomenological-like signals (e.g. speaking in tongues).  The latter is most applicable to what I do, the scientific study of group-dynamics in moralized environments.

For instance Quakers often signalled being overcome by the spirit by physical quaking.  Shakers amplified the physical demonstrations of their Quaker roots.  Mormonism often signals spiritual envelopment and sincerity by crying.  Crying fits seem to be more frequent in group settings than in individual settings.  Shaking seems to fit a similar pattern.

One interesting possibility (not backed up by any rigorous research) is that gifts of the spirit tend to emerge during Great Religious Awakening moments.  For instance, Quakerism emerged during a Great Religious Awakening.  Mormonism did too.  Social justice emerged during our current Awakening (which we recognize due to moral unfreezing & strong within-society between-group competition).

So, I propose that the hyper-sensitive cycles physically expressed by social justice warriors reflect adaptive group dynamics.  Their functional purpose is to express hard-to-fake commitment and create a sense of synergy with a group and a group-agent moral Big Brother.  They are adaptive because of their role in group norm enforcement, in-group out-group detection and actor-group resonance.

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