The aftermath of many podcasts exemplifies post after post of tribal loyalty. A veritable cult following matched with a steady and persistent fervour. Where patrons are disappointed if there wasn’t enough disagreement or dissatisfied when they agreed too much. It’s a trap! A double edged sword. Charles Murray, Scott Adams, Jordan Peterson, Ezra Klein and Sam Harris himself have all formed these cult like apparatuses that count on the emotional predispositions of their followers. Watching people get right bent out of shape over these guests is amusing. There are a lot of folks out there who seem to think critical thinking amounts to repeating everything they hear from the people they admire. And that the discipline it takes to actually learn can be easily circumvented by mimicking everything other people say and claim it as your own. And ipso facto they’re just as knowledgeable as their delusions allow.
Like I said, tribalism is here to stay until we evolve out of it. We won’t think ourselves out of it. We might as well think ourselves out of arms or legs. It’s part of who we are.
We might self-doubt our way out of it though, if we could learn to embrace healthy self-doubt.
At least I’d like to think we could. It’s really just learning to apply the principles of science/sound critical thinking even to our own personal cognition—investing in the methods rather than conclusions (isms and such ... Home Teams/tribes).
But that’s the point of the OP - we can’t totally rid ourselves of tribal bias even with rational thinking. We don’t even always know it’s there.
And you think healthy self-doubt suggests otherwise?
What you just said, essentially, is here’s another reason to embrace healthy self-doubt.
I’m all in favor of healthy self-doubt. It just seems in short supply.
I certainly can’t argue with that.
The aftermath of many podcasts exemplifies post after post of tribal loyalty. A veritable cult following matched with a steady and persistent fervour. Where patrons are disappointed if there wasn’t enough disagreement or dissatisfied when they agreed too much. It’s a trap! A double edged sword. Charles Murray, Scott Adams, Jordan Peterson, Ezra Klein and Sam Harris himself have all formed these cult like apparatuses that count on the emotional predispositions of their followers. Watching people get right bent out of shape over these guests is amusing.
I very reservedly agree with that sentiment when it comes to dogmatists, but the strongest sense I generally take away from that is disappointment. It’s not strong disappointment because it’s repeated (perpetually) and expected, but it’s still at least a little disheartening.
There are a lot of folks out there who seem to think critical thinking amounts to repeating everything they hear from the people they admire.
Or the ability to find comfortably negative official labels that at least seem to mostly fit (as long as things are framed to taste).
And that the discipline it takes to actually learn can be easily circumvented by mimicking everything other people say and claim it as your own. And ipso facto they’re just as knowledgeable as their delusions allow.
Complacency is dysfunctional loyalty.
This resonates like the banner statement for a democracy in ruins. This is the peril we find ourselves in through the normalization of lying.
Say, hypothetically, there’s a group of people in a given area and that area is scarcely monitored. Or, the area is monitored but the officers are greatly outnumbered by the visitors. Like lifeguards on a beach. There’s no way some teenager can possible keep track of all those frolicking children. Though some parents rely on that expert lifeguard training, and relax their gaze, most parents will watch their kids like a hawk. They’re likely far more invested in the health and well being of their own offspring than any stranger will ever be. Same goes for any establishment. Like a bar where there are many patrons and only a couple of bouncers. People are courteous for the most part and tend to be reasonable considering everyone is pretty much just looking to have a good time. And the bouncers are only expected to spring into action should a fight break out.
Problems arise when the expectation of responsibility is assumed and causes important matters to fall through the cracks. When things go unsaid and people go unnoticed everyone moves on and things are quickly forgotten and replaced. Allowing a new and shiny stream of lies to settle neatly in its place. Preying on the complacency of the people in an environment that fosters dysfunction. Where lying has become normal. And in the same way the sun worshippers on the beach and the patrons of the pub rely on those protecting such areas they remain under the illusion these safeguards are in place. A blind faith that allows everyone the luxury of feeling secure that the officials have it covered. At the same time the officials are thinking the guests should be governing themselves.
When governing bodies fail to live up to their responsibilities and individual bodies fail to live up to theirs it means no one is tending to much of anything. Like a national bystander effect. Teetering on the brink of insanity thinking surely someone else is taking care of it. At some point people will be forced to snap out of it and decide what they’re willing to accept. While drowning in confusion waiting for the fight to break out. In search of a place where there’s honour to be found. And the increasing use of hypotheticals won’t be needed to soften the blow of telling the truth. Coz the bodies are gonna start to add up.
The thing is, to say that humans all ultimately share the same values is to say that humans all ultimately share the same nature, and I lean towards the idea that Harris does in fact believe this but doesn’t officially state it for fear of coming off as too ‘woo’. But realistically, that is the logical link that is missing in his argument, to my mind. If all consciousness and sentience is ultimately equivalent, then we can make universal statements about what is good and bad for it. If it is a pell-mell array of mutually incompatible psyches, then no amount of reason crosses the bridge from facts to values.
The crux of things. I think that all humans are ultimately alike in at least two ways (outside of being genetically human). 1. (The metaphysical argument) Identity of consciousness. If you take consciousness not as individual self-consciousness but as the awareness that allows a self to be self-conscious then it follows that consciousness is simple (i.e., unitary, with no internal distinctions). So at that level, there is no difference between different individuals consciousness. Then, by the identity of indiscernibles, all consciousnesses are the same although the self-consciousnesses differ. 2. (The psychological argument) I think that every human mind and self is determined and maintained by the same underlying dynamical processes so although individual selves differ the underlying processes that support those selves are the same.
Where does culture, and the dialectic between the individual and society, enter the picture for you in terms of what it means to be human?
It isn’t clear that culture can evolve without some form of tribalism. Tribes are where cultures can be incubated, be tested, and where the interaction between the individual and society takes place. Equally important for the evolution of culture is the exchange of culture between tribes (and we can have hierarchies of tribes, as well as sparially distributed tribes). War hasn’t been the only way tribes have interacted. This is the positive content I take from SH’s comments on the negative aspects of tribalism (though I agree SH can at times seem to take a simplistic view on the absoluteness of rational thought, ironically almost religious in nature.)