I posted this in response to someone bemoaning yet another web site converting its healthy, intelligent audience into hivemind drones:
Anytime something new forms, the pioneers are replaced by those who want to make it “safe.”
Why safe? They fear themselves, they fear competition, and they fear reality.
They will hide this behind any number of convenient lies: they’re for change/progress, they’re fearless trying new things, they’re humanitarians, they’re geniuses, they’re revolutionaries.
But really, they’re dogmatists for one single rule: everyone is OK and equal just as they are and there’s no reason to challenge ourselves and reach out beyond ourselves.
They then enforce that on others.
This is the universal human problem: instead of figuring that appearances are the result of some other cause, people figure that appearances cause all other things to happen. As a result, they manipulate reality backward.
They do this because if they view themselves as a cause, and not an effect, they feel in control. If they are the cause, they are the end and not the means; they are autonomous and a thing-in-itself with powers not granted to any other object. They might even escape a glimpse of mortality…
…But we all know that doesn’t make any sense. Free will is bunk; we don’t even know all the choices, and our knowledge of choices is determined by how many archetypes we’ve seen in the past, how smart we are, and how realistic we are as personalities. Even if it’s popular to think that we have free will, really we’re just animals reacting to our world, trying to adapt to it.
Social pretense arises out of our denial of this adaptation. We feel better, and we let others into our clubhouse of feeling better, but the price is that we must smash anyone who brings up any instance of us not being utterly in control. Inequality? To the guillotine. Biological determinism? Court of Star Chamber. Intelligence testing? Gulag time. And so on.
Modern philosophers, and not of the paid and bought-for kind that appear in most of academia, are swimming upstream trying to sort through all the excuses, justifications, pretenses, and wish fulfillment imagery generated by our species. The truth is simple once you see it, but 99% of your species have a vested interest in hiding it, and in ganging up on you if you speak it out loud.
Yet if we’re to move forward, we need to do exactly that: face reality, accept it, and make the best of it. By move forward I mean evolve past self-awareness; it’s a step up from ape, but limited in that we focus on our selves as a cause when we should be seeing the complex chains of causes formed of interacting natural forces and the emergent properties of that interaction. A smarter, fearless future human might come with that knowledge built in.