I wrote yesterday about how religion extends from a need to create stability and harmony (within oneself, but more importantly: within society). A way of summing that up is to say religions/mythologies are a kind of game. They don’t necessarily make us happy and we don’t always win. But there are rules we agree to and we play because we seem to win more often than we lose, and we’re happy to keep playing because it doesn’t feel rigged – there seems to be a justification to our winning and losing, and it feels like everyone is playing by the same rules. So we buy into it and we play.
So as an Englishman living in England and as an outsider… I wanted to talk about America, where we’re seeing a multi-racial society disintegrating. Not only that, even within the White group there are different groups of people, who are finding conflict when forced to live by one’s set of rules. I mean, this was why there were States to begin with: they were different colonies containing different genetic stock from different places. You can also overlay the r/K stuff on top here to understand further divisions.
Incidentally, the genetic roots of these people are found in England today, although they’ve shifted and morphed within America, through breeding, war and all the various envrionmental factors (as well as the fact that more K-selected people settled there, depleting our sources here).
But one thing anyone will tell you is we’re a very provincial people: Devonshire folk are suspicious of London folk, and we both agree people from Newcastle are barbarians. Within London there are divisions between different types of Londoners too. But anyone outside looking at Britain probably just sees “The English” (much to the charign of the Welsh, too!).
Thing is though, we manage this pretty well. There aren’t civil wars breaking out every second, partly coz these groups of people stay in their own sections of the island. Even though we’re forced to live under a common law (and that does create resentments of its own, e.g. where countryfolk are beholden to the moral tastes of cityfolk when it comex to fox-hunting legislation, or where big-city folk are Pro-EU and everyone else isn’t). But also because we still share enough in common that we can get on.
But in America… I think these types of differences have created far greater differences between the States. Which is part of the beauty of their system, at least as it was intended in the original loose Confederation, where there were some agreed upon laws that enabled harmonious co-existence, but enough flexibility for each State to adjust its laws according to what different States believed was right.
And yet now we find a strong Federal government creates resentment, where it seems particular standards are being enforced across all groups, despite different identities (as well as the waves of immigration fracturing things further).
And so I wanted to look at this idea that Diversity + Proximity = War through the lens of Dr Peterson. Different groups of people innately have different values. Values aren’t simply transmitted as memetic constructs. They extend from the kinds of people we are and the environment we’re in. They’re the things that we, and people like us, value. They are the standards we find acceptable, and the ways in which we prefer to live. These get encoded in the stories we tell each other and the mythology we share.
And now two things have happened:
(1) Different people with conflicting standards for how they want to live are now living too close to each other in America, creating disorder as people have fundamentally different values, extending from fundamental differences in their makeup
(2) Within more homogenous groups, further disintegration is occurring as people are losing grip on any firm mythology. They still possess those features about them which give them their particular values, which allow them to live in stability and harmony together, but without a stable mythology in which to encode those ideas, they start losing their grip on them. An efficacious identity is being lost, which leads to a sense of powerlessness.
And so everything is getting frayed at the edges, and everyone is losing their tether, because they’re finding themselves in constant conflict with people who just aren’t like them, and they’re not even able to find any solace by turning to some firm, metaphysical, mythological meaning within their our group – and this causes disharmony within themselves, and a distance from even those like themselves, as they’re unable to talk about a shared mythology that binds them (unless they’re still committed Christians and/or Mormons). There’s no stable, harmonious, deeply metaphysical understanding of the world to unite people – just a fractured shattering of relativistic viewpoints, butting up against either (1) other shattered people, or (2) much stronger people with a more certain, efficacious identity.
You see this given life in the chaos people find within themselves, as they find themselves unable to give any real meaning or direction to their lives. And you see this in the conflict between groups. Until White Identitarianism/Nationalism becomes more popular and something people are less afraid to speak about, we’re going to see more chaos, not less.
There’s this idea that we need to avoid identity politics, ignore differences and try to play nice. And, as is said, this just leads to victory for the Identity Groups who aren’t afraid. They have a surety, a moral certainty, that comes from knowing who your people are and what your shared view of the world is.
And the rise of White (Christian) Nationalism isn’t some kind of simple, racist urge to crush differences. It’s a mixture of creating more stability and harmony within a group, but also it allows for cleaner conflict. If chaos is uncertainty about where things will head next, then I think part of the current chaos is being fed by the side who not only finds themselves lacking coherent mythology, but who refuse to rally around one for fear of being called Klansmen/White Supremacists/Nazis.
I mean, I view it like this: it would be one thing for different groups to draw up their battle lines and form firm barriers between each other. Indeed, that was the whole idea of restricting immigration and having different States: that it creates a more civic, stable society when you limit any outside groups from entering, and you have people live in different pockets, with varying laws, where they fit best. But right now you have bubbling tensions and chaos, not just from the proximity, but because of this sense that one side in this coming battle is entirely unsure about who they are or what direction they want to go in, what they believe in, what their fundamental values are.
Chaos isn’t conflict. Conflict is what happens when certain lines are drawn and nothing is left but force. What we’re seeing at the moment is the chaos that precedes that, as people are lacking certainity about the world, about who they are and where they place themselves. And I think either that chaos will resolve itself into certainty in something, leading to conflict, and those that lack certainty will be finding themselves forced to find something to buy into, once that conflict comes.