What is the root of our disease?
Most people of functional mind now understand that the American dream is not only dead, but was an illusion, brought on by a pocket of history between bad decisions and the moment their consequences arrive.
Even more than that, we are now seeing that Western Civilization has died, and we who are left — functional minds, again — want a new civilization to replace it.
Something went wrong, long ago, and we have been surviving since that time on the slowness of decay. Like a monkey on our back, this original mistake lives on as an assumption, and for this reason, no matter what we try, it is infected with the bad assumption.
We are like a person trying to clean a virus from a computer network while using an infected machine, so that no matter how much he cuts away, he re-infects everything he touches. The disease lives in us, the Typhoid Mary of bad ideological dogma assumptions.
The trouble is that, while war, slavery and poverty are in general bad things, they may well be profitable for some. Especially in small doses. And if you can create a feedback loop by which Universalism causes war, slavery or poverty, but does so in such a way as to reward those who practice and promote Universalism, you have a loop that can continue indefinitely.
Take, for example, the “peace process” in Israel and Palestine. Now 60 years old and counting. How confident are you that this “peace process” is not, in fact, the cause of this similarly unending conflict? It certainly generates a very comfortable living, full of meaning and importance and not a few frequent-flier miles, for all those involved. Why shut it down?
RF hits back with his own analysis, which is closer to the truth:
What we have then is the system itself being the driver. This is the key point, and one which can only be repeated in as clear a way as possible, without the added distraction of the additional context provided by Moldbug when trying to explain it – the unsecure system is the problem, and the mechanisms of this unsecure system create the environment which selects for progressivism. Power is above culture.
The power system literally created this culture.
Power systems are proxies for leadership; people decide that kings are too dangerous, and so they implement a series of rules and incentives (a “system”) for managing people who are presumed to be roughly equal in moral character, mental ability and instinct.
Perhaps instead we should look toward the fundamental assumption there, which is equality. Equality is a human tendency wired into us since early days because it is how one forms a group. Offer inclusion into a new group, or tribe, to a number of people, and promise them that they share equally in its profits, and they hop on board. This is an addictive virus to the human brain: less responsibility, and the possibility of more gain.
This is why equality seems, on a mathematical level, to be a good game-playing strategy. The forgotten factor (as usual) is time, or more accurately, iteration: profit-based systems, over time, decay from high-margin to low-margin as the efficiency effects they bring become more widely distributed.
Visualize a new technology product, for example the iGroin. This product constantly stimulates the groin with small electrical shocks to keep the wearer awake at his boring job, tedious television watching, and stultifying small talk. At first, it sells for $700. But as more people own them, costs go down and competition increases, so prices drop.
Ten years later, the iGroin is a generic type of product that sells for $50 at grocery stores.
Equality has the same curve. At first, it is a brilliant power grab: the new tribe takes everything it can, distributes it, and becomes wealthy. Over time, there is less to grab, and so the parasitic process becomes unruly. This then requires the implementation of the same administrative and leadership roles that the parasites took from their host tribe, a larger group. At this point, the parasite becomes the host, but because it has no mode except parasitism, it starves itself as it fragments into smaller groups trying to parasitize it.
This is why all advanced societies have died so far, on Earth and in the heavens: the society becomes wealthy, subsidizing those who could not have survived without it, and then those take over through equality, because equality is social magic because it cannot be opposed without the opposer looking like a cruel tyrant to the herd. Then, the society chokes itself to death, and reverses the process of civilization.
In this view, the system is the result of the assumption, not the cause of it. This is more accurate.
The problem is Us. Individualism arises from people who do not understand civilization. They exist within it because they can only exist when someone else takes care of the basics of life and social order. At that point, they take it all for granted, and start agitating for more (hubris). With that, the parasitism begins.
With the rise of parasitism, all values and meanings are inverted, meaning that they come to mean the opposite of what they were originally intended to mean. The reason for this is that equality demands inversion. To include everyone equally, one must remove any differences between choices, and even words themselves, by making them mean the same thing, ideologically. This means that any terms describing something other than the ideology must be inverted.
Now the cycle is complete. Inversion = Equality = Individualism. The needs of the individual, expressed through a collective, alter the definition of symbols, and create a false consensual reality in which realistic thought is suppressed. Then the society drives itself insane with its inability to find the assumption which started it on a path to doom.
There is only one solution for this: keep the people of highest intelligence and moral capacity in power, make as many of them as you can, and drive away the useless people. Darwinism in nature has no analogue in civilization except this, and it is vitally needed.
In the future, an advanced civilization will survive this threshold. It will do so by adopting the view of the Spartans not in a military sense, but in a social one. Its people will wage constant war against stupidity and idiots, and exile them to distant lands, without having to make a case for laws being broken. People will be sent away simply for being fools.
This society will not be excessively wealthy. The casting away of fools removes the vast profit motive of consumerism, and also requires that even the highly intelligent do actual work. That will paradoxically reward them, as it gives them a break from their over-heating brains, and allows for a lack of the tedium of nonsense work.
In such a civilization, people will spend very little time on inventing new theories, except as pertains to physical science discoveries. Most of their time will be spent in silence, contemplation and enjoyment of life. They will embrace the mundanity and reject the “exciting” as fetishistic.
This type of civilization fits with what Plato saw as ideal:
In the succeeding generation rulers will be appointed who have lost the guardian power of testing the metal of your different races, which, like Hesiod’s, are of gold and silver and brass and iron. And so iron will be mingled with silver, and brass with gold, and hence there will arise dissimilarity and inequality and irregularity, which always and in all places are causes of hatred and war. This the Muses affirm to be the stock from which discord has sprung, wherever arising; and this is their answer to us. – The Republic
The gold are those of excellent moral and mental ability, and the silver those who can implement that vision. When these castes are mixed, those raw abilities are lost.
Hierarchy in human tribes takes this form: there must be some who rise to the top not by manipulation or brute strength, but by ability and the direction in which they appoint that ability.
Here are the gold, silver, bronze and iron castes in another form:
He is called a Brahmana in whom are truth, gifts, abstention
from injury to others, compassion, shame, benevolence and penance.
He who is engaged in the profession of battle, who studies the Vedas, who makes gifts (to Brahmanas) and takes wealth (from those he protects) is called a Kshatriya.
He who earns fame from keep of cattle, who is employed in agriculture and the means of acquiring wealth, who is pure in behaviour and attends to the study of the Vedas, is called a Vaisya.
He who takes pleasure in eating every kind of food, who is engaged in doing every kind of work, who is impure in behaviour, who does not study the Vedas, and whose conduct is unclean, is said to be a Sudra. – “The Four Orders Of Human Beings”
In failed societies, we find false Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas as we see in our current society. These are caste-mixed people who take on the behavior and moral attributes of Sudras.
In healthy societies, we find Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas who act according to their station, much as they were called Jarls, Karls, and freeholders in Europe according to their ability and inclination.
This hierarchy is the opposite of equality. It is quality-based, meaning that it aims to produce more of quality, instead of attempting to normalize everything to one level as equality does.
Equality arises from social politeness in mixed groups. One must assert the opposite of the truth in order to include everyone else. For that reason, the ugly person becomes beautiful and the weak strong. Then the group bullies and gangs up on everyone else to enforce this.
Maintaining this order over centuries requires a maintenance of genetics, because only people of quality can enforce it. The tendency of civilization is to burden those people with responsibility for the welfare of less capable others, thus exhausting them and driving the good ones into exile.
This is why Darwinism is the solution: the less capable and bad must be driven out, not “rehabilitated” or kept as serfs, because they are the destroyers of civilization, even if it takes centuries.
The Spartans understood this on a gut level, but used military aptitude as a proxy for goodness. The next civilization to inherit this earth and the stars will use no proxies, and will simply rank people with a cold and emotionless eye, always pressing the best upward and the worst outward.