Logic consists of following cause-effect relationships over time, which means that often, consequences rarely resemble their starting points after enough iterations.
This bothers most people, who want to understand logic as a series of x=y relationships, like “donuts are good” and “racism is bad.”
For this reason, paradoxical things often become necessary. Pipe tobacco, for example, ferments over time and loses sugars, but becomes sweeter because it burns at a lower temperature that way.
In the same way, nature frequently co-opts the enemies of life into serving life. Oxidation, for example, kills cells; however, if trapped, it provides a useful energy source, much like how early hominids trapped and used fire.
We could go on. The helpful organisms in our intestines will consume us when we die, and if we consume them directly, we often get quite sick. However, kept in the digestive tract, they enable us to eat a wider variety than we could otherwise.
Speaking of digestion, we should consider perhaps the fact that we carry in our midsections a powerful enough acid to eat through steel. Our bodies long ago found a way to trap it in the stomach and neutralize it in the small intestine.
Anytime we ride in a car, we are propelled by a controlled explosion. Many of our foods, if raw, would kill us dead or make us very sick, but have become delicacies. The same decay that makes food toxic has been harnessed to bring about wine, cheese, sauerkraut, and beer.
Alcohol in its raw form would kill us, and if the tobacco in this pipe were rendered into liquid form, it would be enough to snuff quite a few of us rather quickly. We live surrounded by death, harnessed to serve life.
In the same way, perhaps, we see civilization as a captured fire that sometimes rages out of control. It gives us great power, but can also consume us if something goes wrong.
Every civilization finds itself prone to constant pressure. Just like most things in nature are trying to kill you, in civilization, most people are trying to engage it in self-destruction.
Their primary method consists of liberalization, or relaxing rules so that the individual can have more power. They give up on the behavioral standards that made civilization so that the individual faces fewer consequences for being destructive.
Formalization occurs as a response to this, ironically usually through conservatives. They forget about the why behind the rules and focus on the rules because you can teach those to a room with a wide range of IQ scores.
When you get a bunch of pragmatists together, and the group likes those because they are unwilling to enact the “extreme” corrections required to get back on course, you get a compromise.
Think of a committee, or a bunch of pacifists appeasing an enemy. Instead of doing what you must to fix the problem, you accept its existence and make rules to limit how far it can go. Bureaucracy comes from this.
Formalization figures out that liberalization fails, so instead aims to come up with a standard procedure for all people, which limits the decay but tends toward universalism, or the idea that all people are the same.
From universalism comes the modern brain-freeze of equality, an idea so toxic that it turns off human brains and makes those people into obedient stooges cowed by peer pressure into total conformity.
In other words, civilization when it succeeds too much produces excess, and this creates lots of useless people who want liberalization, so the “intelligent” pragmatists come up with a bad compromise, enforcing rules equally.
All paths lead to equality that way, and so it takes over the rest of “history” for that civilization, most of which is history in the sense of “you’re history” because once an anti-realistic brain-virus like equality takes over, your civilization is toast.
Unversalism produces both bureaucracy and a more intense form of liberalization. “One rule for everyone” forces that rule to be very general so that it includes all people in its reach, otherwise it fails as a rule.
From that we get the disease of our time. A society, having started out struggling, now begins to turn toward managing itself instead of enjoying life because it needs to create jobs for people and take care of the useless.
This in turn provokes a conservative movement which, by making strict formal rules, advances the bureaucracy in tandem with the ravening herd, which consists of individuals demanding abolition of standards so they can misbehave.
All of this centers around an idea designed as a replacement for the notion of reality. Civilization has gone from collaboration into a type of crowd management, and its golden rule becomes “never upset the herd.”
At that point, the primal inversion appears: people talk only about what they can use to manipulate others, so they avoid mentioning actual fears at all costs, and eventually those become taboo.
Through that method, all institutions and activities become inverted, or achieve the opposite of what they were intended to do. Since the taboo fears cannot be mentioned, the group chases after symbolic fears and goals, and these make problems worse.
That in turn kills the value of language. When you take all that is potentially “offensive,” or related to true fears instead of distractions, out of language, you end up with a pidgin vocabulary that communicates nothing but affirmation of the status quo.
Even conservatism gets destroyed. At its core, conservatism consists of preservation of the why behind what we do, so that we do not enter an inversion cycle.
However, in the hands of the group, the troublesome notion of things that most people cannot understand must be removed, and so conservatism becomes a vernacular of itself, a desire to preserve how things were at the start of a generation versus how they are at its peak.
As designed, conservatism pursues the why because it leads to the question of civilization itself. Why do it? The answer forms a kind of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: first, to survive, and second, because civilization enables learning, order, and other things that allow us to pursue the good in life, mainly an excellence that like evolution raises us above subsistence level and has us trying to achieve great things and behave as people of creativity, logic, integrity, and generosity.
At this point, civilization enters a fight for its own survival, with a few realists trying to recapture the conversation in order to get it away from the frenetic, dogmatic, and obsessive pursuit of illusion favored by the crowd.
The doctrine of sola fide — faith alone — takes a modern approach to an ancient problem, which is telling people that our battle begins in the mind, and until we organize our minds toward reality and the good, we will win nothing but instead will repeat the past.
Every faith has its version of this, with Buddhism being the most advanced, having presided as did Christianity over a civilization collapsing from within under pressure from both external and internal enemies.
Christianity parallels the ancient Athenian experience, where “sophists” — those who argued for the sake of being technically correct — took over from those who argued from results in reality and pointed out that the system was not working.
The Pharisees of the Bible are not generic Jews, but Jewish bureaucrats of the sort that we see in every later-stage society, namely those who pay more attention to the letter of the law than to the intent behind the laws or their effect.
Although none of these efforts seem to have been successful, mostly because they almost immediately became targets for takeover by those they hoped to limit, they give us a starting point for restarting civilization, which at this point is our goal.
Even more, by logic, we have to design a civilization which does not fail, which means that it must acknowledge what always goes wrong and find a way to counter it. This is the only way to accumulate knowledge and get to the stars.