Saturday, February 9, 2019

Part 2: Competing Fablized Meta-narrative Vignettes

Last post I did some speculating about what religion's could have done to compete with Social Justice's emergent victimhood narrative. The interesting tangent that came out of that was the idea of meta-narrative vignettes that took the form of mini-fables but which were grounded in both morals and national policy.  This idea was inspired by Wright's "The Evolution of God" and how this type of memetic-battle was routine during the post-Tobleki pre-axial age polytheistic inter-competition era.

Wright illustrates this with multiple Bible references. For example, he shows how the showdown between the priests of Baal and Elijah wherein each tried to burn a bull with their god's power is likely a metaphor for inter-state meta-narrative competition. Yahweh subsumed the essential characteristics of Baal. Thus Baal as a deity was no longer needed. Yahweh could do everything Baal could do...

Wright leaves this type of meta-narrative memetic completion here. These stories reflect vignettes of nation-state policy wrapped in a cloak of group moral meaning but which also express said group's hopes and political ambitions at the optimal level of quasi-factuality. Thus you have ideal supernatural quasi-factuality levels intersecting with ideal national policy hopes. The supernatural can't be separated from political policy. Why? In this era there was really no separation between the two. Church state separation hadn't evolved yet. A given deity's temple and their priesthood was functionally equivalent to today's political think tank and lobbyists (when the duo has moderate to high morality and is adaptive enough to have a moral Big Brother or group agent).

Today this isn't so. We have think tank, political parties, religions, and special interest groups. While think tanks may be closely aligned to a political party, they aren't the party. Neither do religions control political policy or vice versa. The idea that politics can control one's theology is a bit far fetched. And yet today, that seems to be happening more and more (e.g. homosexual theological change).

To see this, think about how intertwined radical Social-Justice-as-religion is with government. Such intertwining and fabilized meta-narrative vignettes may go hand in hand. But, in our secular age, just as supernaturalism is no longer a key determinant of religious dynamics, the supernatural basis of the fabilization of meta-narrative vignettes is similarly no longer needed nor appropriate.

If this is accurate, you should be able to see Social Justice rhetoric competing with grand meta-narratives and technical policy on the level of moralized vignettes expressed in terms of some quasi-embodied Big Brother group agent.

Hashing out this new type of "deity" seems to me, to be rather important (and fun). I suspect the solution space for this rhetoric is so fit we may already be seeing it emerge elsewhere. In fact, I would wager a guess that major Great Religious Awakenings all tend to this type of inter-group narrative competition. This certainly seems to have happened during the Civil War, the American Revolution, The civil right's era, and the 1820's Great Religious Awakening etc.

However, most of these great moral awakenings / unfreezings didn't co-incide with the evolution of a potential major evolutionary transition in religion / governance. As stated before, I suspect Social Justice likely reflects such change. Indeed, I suspect that the heightened moral associations now being placed into politics mean we might be in a new era of secular "polytheism".

This certainly seems crazy at first blush. But if you accede that religious dynamics no longer require high levels of supernaturalism, then how do quasi-religious governmentally intertwined narratives compete quasi-supernaturally (memetically)?

The highly fit solution seems to be what we see during the post-Tobleki pre-axial age polytheistic inter-competition era. And, if this is the case, we may see Social-Justice-as-religion quickly evolving into a "monotheistic" direction as it subsumes other late-emerging quasi-religious political level priesthoods. (And here by priesthoods I mean temples of thought such as you get with close alignment between think tanks and political parties when they are taken quasi-religiously).

One thing that seems needed here, is a less religious way of talking about these socio-moral dynamics. Next post I'll try to do that..

1 comment:

  1. This clip from Joe Rogan and Tim Pool is probably relevant... (although I don't take the view that social media causes any of this conflict - things in the American Revolution, or 60's were very similar to today..). Rather I take Peter Turchin's Structural Demographic Theory as the best explainer of why these things are happening. However, that theory, misses to my mind the quasi-religious dynamics. However, that explanation is one level down from where his theory resides (and I suspect one level up from Pool's social media explanation)