With things going to hell in a hand basket, I’ve taken an interest in the clashes of mindsets. This of course takes me back to my own evolutionary mindset pre and post JW life of two decades. If you overlay the core beliefs of memetic tribes as postulated by the authors, I’m curious what the median tribe of JWD would be? Which group or combination of groups would you identify with? Below is the article that explains the traits.
The political diversionary culture which exists with the US right now was unquestionably started by the now acting president D Trump.
Racism and nationalism were the instigating ideologies which underlined the ending results in which we see today.
Finkelstein, it actually goes further back to Nixon’s southern strategy and some would argue to the start of the New Deal with Roosevelt. Newt Gingrich was the early provocateur of “race to bottom of the brain stem” politics. But those are just details :)
Marking article to read later, thanks Victor.
This was a long read and a kind of difficult new idea. Our society is not just split in two opposing tribes anymore. We can't just think in Left and Right. There are so many more groups, based on memes, that are pulling people in multiple directions. This has left us unable to even understand each other and share the same reality, thus the vicious cultural wars, politics, etc.
That's a quick summary of what I think they're saying.
Then they go on to speak of the multiple different mimetic groups. This will require much more reading. And much more thinking.
Thanks for the article.
The question one should ask is did this cultural division start with having a black man acting as the president of the US or was it because there is now a white man who leans to racialism and therefore became a proponent to this ideological division ?
Well I agree with Yeats at the end—the gyres, and “things fall apart, the centre cannot hold”. I’m not sure about the rest of the piece.
What I find striking is that the author cites a tremendous range, probably dozens, of concepts, groupings, online cultural thinkers and influencers, most of whom I am familiar with, but I doubt somehow my parents would have heard of a single one. I doubt my youngest brother has heard of most of them either. “Who’s Jordan Peterson?” He said a few weeks ago. The vast majority of people are just not plugged into this slice of online culture at all. The New Atheists passed them by, and an “Intellectual Dark Web” is probably a bookcase that needs a good clean. Are such people without culture, locked out of culture, or is this selection of online culture simply very narrow compared to the lives of the vast majority of people.
Even as a selection of online culture and comment on our times, it seems to me to be a very narrow selection. Does the article even mention David Harvey, Slavoj Zizek, John Gray, Noam Chomsky, Paul Mason, Yanis Varoufakis, or Richard Wolff? If we are going to talk about people who have serious things to say about the times we live in. Not to mention YouTubers, because only small number can be mentioned. Like millions of others I listen regularly to Peak Prosperity on the pandemic for example, plus lots of tiny channels hardly anyone will have heard of.
The world is now too vast and complicated to be captured in summaries. The piece both acknowledges this but tries to offer a survey in any case. But the survey is so narrow in scope I don’t think it tell us much more than the range of influences of a relatively small online subculture. Joe Rogan is probably one of the best known of all those mentioned, and one of the hardest to label. Even so, I’d be surprised if more than 10% of people in the street could place him at all.
It's worth pointing out the origin of the concept of “culture war” or Kulturkampf, because the contrast is instructive. In Germany it seems that all of society was aware of the cultural conflict and the issues involved. Modern culture wars are tiny localised squabbles in comparison. Ideas don’t seem to gain society-wide traction any more, circles of influence get smaller and smaller.
The problem is that it is more like cultural divisions (plural)
You might think you're arguing about politics, but it might be about the nature of knowledge, or you might think you're arguing about race but the other guy is arguing class.
Or you might be arguing with someone and don't realize why you're busting your heads together without realizing that one of you might be motivated by a utopian world and another is motivated by a moral world but those two things are not exactly the same.
The article is about the fracturing of knowledge. Information moves extraordinarily fast and not along traditional networks anymore. So what is Knowledgd? How do we know?
These things used to be relegated to college Philosophy classes. Now it's each person's problem to find knowledge/ information, evaluate it and fold it into our existing knowledge and schema.
Sounds exhausting? It is! And (there's more) we're doing it badly! And we're not even sure what it is we are doing! Or not doing! And that's why we're fighting!
There's more to the article. It's long.
Loved the references to the red pill and the blue pill. We XJWs know the metaphor. The blue pill is agreed upon reality. The red pill allows you to see the secret underlying order. But, the Gray pill. That might be the ultimate reality because we admit we really don't know much. Everything is gray and murky and we might end up arguing against the position we thought we had.
Simplistic example. I'm on the political left. I'm for equality of the sexes. But, the transgender thing? I don't know. You don't have to deny your sex to embrace being a strong female. People who say that they knew they were transgender when they were growing up and were treated as the weaker sex and they knew they weren't weak and didn't fit in to that stereotype therefore they didn't identify with women. Well, there were times I was treated the same way, but it didn't cause me to not identify with women, it caused me to be a strong woman who didn't believe the bullshit about what being a woman meant, weak, etc. (Again simplistic. I do believe some people have always felt they have been born in the wrong body so to speak)
I'm a feminist, but I just enraged feminists that are passionate about transgender rights. To them it makes me Not a Feminist. Or Not a Democrat. At which suggestion I am enraged. Isn't it ultimately about getting Trump out of office? I'm sure we can agree on this! But they say, no what it's really about is people being free to be who they are! We are ultimately arguing about different things. People who seem the closest can enrage us the most.
The article lists a few dozen -isms that we may feel particularly passionate about. Believing one doesn't necessarily make you a nonbeliever in another. A certain group of -isms don't put you cleanly on one side and another group the other. And that's what's so confusing. Each new -ism ( or meme as the authors call it) must be evaluated on it's own. It's exhausting, but that's the rate of new information in the new information economy.
Anyhow, that's what I understand the authors to be saying. It's a tough bunch of new concepts.
That was a fantastic article and I've shared it on Facebook with friends. I agree with most of it, learned about some groups I had never heard of, and liked the overall premise.
Note: I started writing after Fink but it didn't post until after Slim. That's okay, though. Slim and I seem to have lots of overlap in our comments.