Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anti-Ritual Collectivism

It occurs to me that one of the main features of collectivism is that it is anti-ritual. Collectivism is to be differentiated from social individualism by the fact that social animals are simultaneously distinct individuals and engage in interactions with members of their same species, usually those closely related to them. Lobe-finned fish are social individuals; schooling fish like herring are collectivist in nature. The former recognize territory; the latter have no territory. The evolution of territorialism resulted in the evolution of ritual such that territory could be protected while, at the same time, mating could occur. Herring do not engage in rituals -- they merely spawn en masse.

The mating ritual, stemming from the evolution of territory/property, eventually evolved into other interaction rituals, including politics, religion, science, market exchange, etc. Among our rituals are those that can include or exclude others from our group. A notable one is the ritual we engage in so we can kill another human being because they, themselves, engaged in a crime so bad we want them to be removed from our society. There are certainly pro-life, moral, and sociological arguments to be made against capital punishment, but I do have to wonder how many collectivists are against it simply because one has to engage in a ritual for capital punishment to take place.

Please note the list I gave above. Collectivists are typically anti-religion, anti-market, anti-property (the foundation of all rituals), and even anti-politics insofar as they would typically prefer an apolitical ruler/central planner. They typically present their anti-ritual stance as stemming from their rationalism -- however, this rationalism is of the Continental/Cartesian variety rather than the Scottish Enlightenment version. It is perhaps not surprising that the Scottish version of rationality is both not anti-ritual and social individualistic. Collectivists are still pro-science only because science is perceived to be anti-ritual -- so the ignorance of its fundamental ritualistic nature protects it. For now.

We can see, then, that to the extent that lobe-finned fishes evolved from schooling fish, collectivism is more primitive than social individualism. Thus collectivists are hyper-atavists. As is anti-ritualism.
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