Saturday, 5 March 2016

Running with Paradigms


One of the ingredients of successful group fitness is clarity of mind. The world can be a ruthlessly competitive place, at times. And to survive, requires a clarity of mind that stands up to the pressure of competition.

Under pressure, only clear and strong ideas survive. Vague, woolly, and complicated thoughts can get thrown by the wayside under the stress of competition. This is why we must come up with a clear framework of who we are, that can keep us on track during times of chaos and trouble.

I suggest the following starting points to provide a framework for the Western world:


(At least for most of us, most of the time).

The pursuit of happiness is the only common goal on which we can all agree, generally speaking. It's the only universally intelligible goal. It's the only common ground that can unite us in the same general direction. So, the pursuit of happiness (seeking pleasure and avoiding pain) can provide a broad general direction to unite us.

However, not everyone is willing or able to to articulate all their goals in terms of happiness, and we need to try and accommodate views even if they don't fit in the happiness box.

Note that "seeking pleasure" does not necessarily imply short-term indulgent pleasures. Complete happiness often involves balancing a whole set of competing desires: short-term versus long-term, selfishness versus group needs, individualism versus group harmony, indulgence versus health, etc.

If you don't like the word "happiness" you can use other words like fulfilment, wellbeing, or eudaimonia. But whatever you call it, it always boils down to seeking emotional desires, or some sort.


(Hence long-term happiness is only possible within a group context).

Because human nature is group oriented, the pursuit of happiness is only possible within a group environment, particularly over the long term. If you want future generations to have a comfortable life, their happiness can only take place in the context of a thriving group that is able to protect against threats in a dangerous world. If we pursue individualism (without regard to group health) that may lead to short-term happiness, but it will come at the expense of long-term happiness. Happiness is a constrained vision.

Kin preference is a scientific fact, even down to the level of fine-tuned preference for family members who share a facial resemblance. No amount of conditioning and propaganda will make this fact go away.

Likewise, humans have an innate desire to harmonise (culturally, aesthetically, morally, etc) with those around them, generally speaking.

To run counter to these two fundamental desires is both undesirable and futile. It's better to run with human nature than against it, generally speaking. So, that means it's folly to pursue utopian visions of dissolving all racial/cultural differences into one harmonious melting pot. And it's inhuman to force diversity where it's not wanted.

Diversity doesn't lead to a raceless utopia, it just leads to a power vacuum, which is ripe to be filled by aggressive groups who have not been psychologically disarmed.

So, where possible, we should allow people the freedom to decide which elements of world they do (and don't) want to have relations with.

Obviously group identity can have a downside, where tribalism and isolation can breed contempt for others. And we should be alert and temper those trends.


(Hence our happiness depends on each of us playing our part in that upkeep).

Groups are collections of people, ideas, and resources. For a group to survive in a dangerous world, it needs a constant supply of the right inputs, otherwise it will lag behind, and be displaced by stronger groups.

Like a garden, or a plant, we need to constantly monitor the health of our group, and replenish whatever factors might be lacking at the time.

Groups often rise and fall around a single charismatic leader. And groups often rise on the back of a fit, hungry and united group that lies outside the walls of the existing civilisation. But then, like clockwork, they seemed doomed to fail from old age, enervation, complexity, disunity, overreach, debt, low birth rates, denatured lifestyle, etc.

Without a sound mind, body and spirit, a group will not thrive, and will die off. Groups require constant renewal, and constant rethinking. A garden has to be tended, a lawn has to be mowed, or order will soon turn to chaos, and a garden is soon turned into jungle. Without vigilance, order tends to decay.

So, each of us needs to play our part in the upkeep of the mind, body and spirit of the organism. We need to find our group, and find our mission within that group. Only when everyone is contributing to the upkeep, will we have any hope of maintaining fitness in a hostile world.


(Subjectivity means there is no consensus about the right way to live. There are many varying viewpoints. Thus our happiness depends on our ability to create order out of subjective chaos by (a) finding your own voice (b) finding like-minded people to give your voice more weight and (c) recognising who our allies and adversaries are. Thus we can navigate skillfully through the subjective chaos).

Although the human species is a finite biological organism, with distinct features, and presumably therefore has an objectively ideal lifestyle that will maximise happiness, nonetheless we're still a long way off achieving any consensus about what that ideal might be.

While there are clearly some things that are objectively better and worse ways to live, nonetheless there is still a lot of grey area, where it's not so clear which lifestyle is better than another. Although this grey area may be resolved at some point in the future when perhaps we've thoroughly studied human nature, nonetheless for the moment, much of the "good life" is still the subject of speculation and subjective preferences.

As much as we like to champion our own particular culture or religion as the best way to live, the truth is that we are still probably some way off attaining perfect or objective knowledge about the ideal human lifestyle. The content or character of our groups may thus be more subjective than we like to think.

Self-righteousness and parochialism seem inherent in human nature. It's perfectly normal to see our own culture as the right way to live. But human culture, religion, and lifestyle, all come from the minds of men. Even if we think they represent some objective ideal, they are still the ideas of men, and that makes them subject to the variability and vulnerability of human minds.

That's not to say that all cultures are equal, and none are any better than others. I'm not saying that at all. Some cultures clearly are better ways to live. I'm just saying that there's still a lot of grey area that is open to interpretation, and there's not going to be definitive answers to these questions anytime soon, and so we need to deal with cultural variation rather than have dreams of our own particular culture prevailing over others.


In order to navigate skillfully in this subjective chaos, we need to take these steps:


(Note that parts of the rest of this page are incomplete, or just sketchy outlines. But if you've read this far, the details should be fairly obvious to fill in).







However, the process of navigating subjective chaos does not end there, because the outcome of the above three steps is not fixed for all time. In fact, all the above steps are unstable and subject to change. Our own ideals of culture may change over time. Our group may morph in a different direction, or dissolve when it loses its charismatic leader. And other groups may change in a instant too.

Thus navigating subjective chaos means constantly re-evaluating where we stand with regard to ourselves, our group, and other groups. It's a constant process of renewal and readjusting our bearings amidst the chaos. It requires constant vigilance.


So, given these instabilites, are there any more things we can do to help navigate the subjective chaos more skillfully? Yes, there are:


Some readers might be wondering why the focus on the subjective and diverse nature of culture? Shouldn't we be encouraging unity for group fitness? To answer that, let's look at the goals of this narrative.

This narrative has a few goals in mind:

1 - To provide a general unifying narrative that almost any civilised Westerner can buy into, providing a broad direction for the West.

2 - To create some solid foundation despite the malleability of human nature.

3 - To keep our group as big and united as possible by encouraging cooperation between subgroups.

But in order to create such a narrative, we need to transcend time and place, cultural specifics, and other lines of division. It requires us to step back from our subjective ideals about human culture/lifestyle, and look at the bigger picture, and start from an accurate picture of reality. And that reality is:

A - Yes, a clearly defined human culture is necessary for group identity and cohesion. The most cohesive groups are homogeneous and cult like.

B - However, human culture is a subjective, elusive and changing construct. One minute you try to define it, and nail it down, and the next minute you find it has moved and slipped away.

C - Investing in one particular culture often inherently sets up opposition to other cultures.

The net result is that A and B conflict, and C conflicts with the goal of overall group unity.

So, how do we solve these dilemmas? The answer might be to have one foot in the culture, and one foot out of it, and which foot we emphasize will depend on the circumstance at hand.

So, while (A) we want to encourage group unity, nonetheless sometimes (B) groups fracture and its necessary to step back and look at the bigger picture to see that change is a constant (at least at this point in time). And this wide-angle view might help to resolve internal group conflicts more smoothly.

And while (A) a clear culture is necessary for group cohesion, nonetheless we want to limit (C) the degree to which cultural conflicts arise, by encouraging some sort of overarching unity e.g. by emphasizing common goals, encouraging superficial uniformity, etc.

The point is to have one foot in the culture, and one foot out of it, and which one we emphasize depends on the circumstance at hand. Sometimes there is a need to be immersed and assimilated in the culture, and other times there's a need to step outside it. Overall group fitness requires managing these conflicting factors.

Not everyone will be able to step back and transcend their culture, some people can only exist within it. But it's important that group leaders try to do this, for the sake of overall group co-operation.

(Note that the purpose of keeping Western groups "big and united" is not for some arbitrary reason such as preserving the status quo, it's because we face some very hostile and well organised groups, and we are going to need every ally and friend we can make, just to survive in these dangerous times).


Despite a lot of grey area about ideal culture, there probably are some universal values that we should identify and foster e.g.

- Health, vitality, strength
- Intelligence
- Aesthetics e.g. beauty, fashion, ambience/noise, architecture, nature, etc.
- Basic human rights
- ...........


The downside of kin preference, and allowing freedom of association, is that it can breed conflict between subgroups of the West. So, as an antidote, we need to think about how we can foster good relations between our subgroups e.g. while allowing for different cultures/lifestyles, should we encourage superficial uniformity such as norms of appearance, speech and language? And presumably civility fosters good will. And environment (noise, aesthetics, architecture) can be optimised to promote calm and peacefulness. And encouraging occasional inter-group activities is probably a good idea to maintain goodwill between subgroups, if our future is lived mainly within the comfort of cohesive circles.


So, that's a start on a general unifying narrative. It's a broad direction, you can fill in the details as you see fit.

The future will be a turbulent world, and we need secure paradigms that can withstand the fast-paced pressures of conflict.

So, find your group, find your mission within that group, encourage goodwill with other like-minded groups, and know your enemies. Only when we have enough hands on deck will we have any hope of competing in a dangerous world.

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