Maturity — Can it be an actionable filter

 
BOBREB
 
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BOBREB
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14 May 2018 18:38
 

Tribalism only matters when the tribes are small. I contend that tribal size is an aspect of “maturity” and that maturity can be more measurable than the common definition allows. This filter has value in lots of other places, but that’s a good one to make the point.

So what’s the right definition of maturity? Maturity is a measure of the relative size of the time and space units of any given proposition. The bigger the units, the more mature. The smaller the units, the less mature.

Longer version: a baby is immature. It’s “space” is it’s body. It’s time is now. A high schooler lives in a bigger social space, and may think of time in terms of test schedules, or Friday to Friday date nights. A parent’s space is bigger yet: work, family, neighborhood, etc. A parent’s time units are larger: college tuition planning, grandchildren, retirement. From infant to old age, the development of maturity in ever increasing time and space units is, I think, clear. Lots of strangeness can be explained if we consider a contraction of one (time or space) without the contraction of the other.

So, when tribalism is an issue, it’s because the tribal mindset in question is immature. We may not be able to eliminate tribalism as a pattern in human behavior. But we may be able to evolve it in terms of the time and space units involved — we may be able to “mature” it. When the tribe is the human race, and the time frame is seen in terms of generations, we have a mature, healthy, and beneficial “tribal” mentality. That is, of course, until we encounter little green men and have to “mature” further.

This really messes with Haidt’s conception of liberal and conservative distinctions based upon reactions to fear of the tribal/community kind.

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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17 May 2018 21:51
 

I haven’t found a variety of tribalism that I’d consider mature. By my understanding it’s always a category error and a lazy habit. It’s always a failure to act upon the higher principle. Maybe I’m not following your premise well enough.

 
NL.
 
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NL.
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17 May 2018 23:02
 

In general it sounds as if you are talking about what Pete Singer called “The Expanding Circle”. I agree with this general framework overall. However, because I usually add an eastern “it’s all circular anyways” twist to things, I disagree that:

BOBREB - 14 May 2018 06:38 PM

Longer version: a baby is immature. It’s “space” is it’s body. It’s time is now.


... ironically, the youngest infants probably lack much of a self/other distinction. A newborn’s ‘space’ may well be ‘everything in its consciousness’, not ‘its body’. So in some sense, if our circle expands out to the largest picture possible, we may complete a sort of loop, vs. finding a linear endpoint. After having acquired much more knowledge, of course, but the basic dynamics may be similar.

 
EN
 
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EN
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18 May 2018 04:31
 

Tribalism is an innate characteristic of human beings, formed by the evolutionary process.  It’s not political or social at its root, although it manifests itself in those and other realms of human endeavor.  It is biological.  “Birds of a feather flock together.”  Nationalism is one of the most prominent manifestations of this aspect of our nature.  It’s not going away anytime soon.  We define ourselves in large part by the groups with which we identify.  IMHO, rather than attempting to rid ourselves of this component of our nature (which would be like trying to rid ourselves of bodily organs), we can learn to manipulate it to our mutual advantage.  Tribes can form alliances - that’s what treaties are.  Accept our tribalism, then find common grounds with other tribes.  That would be the “mature” thing to do.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 May 2018 05:20
 

You can’t get to a bigger tribe than world religion, with billions of members. And yet, maturity seems to be lacking…

 
 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 May 2018 05:21
 

I would argue that the ability to belong to many tribes at the same time is a sign of maturity, just like being able to hold competing ideas in your head at the same time (and being aware of the contradiction) is a sign of intelligence.

 
 
EN
 
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18 May 2018 06:24
 
Twissel - 18 May 2018 05:20 AM

You can’t get to a bigger tribe than world religion, with billions of members. And yet, maturity seems to be lacking…

That may be true, but there are some who urge ecumenicalism, including the Heap Big Tribal Chief - the Pope. However, that’s a very, very big hurdle, do to the divisive nature of religion.  Perhaps as cultures intermingle in the modern world, the differences in religion will succumb to the similarities, or just become less important.

 
Twissel
 
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Twissel
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18 May 2018 07:32
 

The reason why some religious people are open to ecumenicalism is because they are also Secularists, i.e. they belong to more than just their faith.
In contrast, many evangelicals and of course Muslims have made it abundantly clear that they are true to their beliefs first and foremost, and only accept what doesn’t contradict it.

 
 
EN
 
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18 May 2018 07:39
 
Twissel - 18 May 2018 05:21 AM

I would argue that the ability to belong to many tribes at the same time is a sign of maturity, just like being able to hold competing ideas in your head at the same time (and being aware of the contradiction) is a sign of intelligence.

Like being for the Yankees and the Red Sox in the same game?

 
EN
 
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EN
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18 May 2018 07:40
 
Twissel - 18 May 2018 07:32 AM

The reason why some religious people are open to ecumenicalism is because they are also Secularists, i.e. they belong to more than just their faith.
In contrast, many evangelicals and of course Muslims have made it abundantly clear that they are true to their beliefs first and foremost, and only accept what doesn’t contradict it.

Like I said, tribalism is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

 
NL.
 
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NL.
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18 May 2018 08:28
 
EN - 18 May 2018 07:39 AM
Twissel - 18 May 2018 05:21 AM

I would argue that the ability to belong to many tribes at the same time is a sign of maturity, just like being able to hold competing ideas in your head at the same time (and being aware of the contradiction) is a sign of intelligence.

Like being for the Yankees and the Red Sox in the same game?


Interestingly, I think the answer to this is ‘yes’. We are all ‘for’ the Yankees and the Red Sox in the same game as human beings above and beyond their role as teams. If one team had members of the other team murdered or maimed in order to win, people would be horrified, not reveling in the glory of their team.


To the OP - on reflection, I also think that there is a balance between the relatively lesser egoism of youth; and the increased compassion that usually comes with getting older. Babies, children, and even teens / young adults are generally, I think, more egocentric, in both positive and negative ways. There is a selfishness that comes with that but there is also less delineation between self and other (even as a young adult - I feel like the way you interact with friends in college is so different than the way you do as a full fledged member of polite society. In college we would pile into one taxi with everyone sitting on everyone else’s lap, share twin beds when crashing at someone else’s place, collapse into one heap on our small couch to watch tv, and so on - your concept of personal space becomes much more defined once you enter the working world, I think.)


I think as we get older we are prone to growing in more compassionate discernment (understanding people as their own entities with their own desires, needs, preferences, and so on,) but also more likely to feel like an isolated ‘self’ (I think the huge growth of meditation in this country, with such a focus on feeling just slightly less ‘self’ conscious, speaks to this,) and definitely more protective of what is ‘ours’. In good and bad ways - that can mean increased responsibility, but it can also mean that the openness of youth starts to decrease. If your life is going well, you tend to have more and more to lose as you get older, and have accumulated more experiences of loss so that wariness starts to increase. Aging parents, kids, family, friends, a house, a job, financial savings, a reputation, a self-perception, and on and on - I think there is a reason that Buddha and Jesus were wandering mendicants! For the rest of us, I think the trick is to find some balance in trying to retain the best parts of a youthful ‘beginner’s mind’ mindset and the discernment and ‘expanded circle’ that tends to come with age.