Thursday, April 21, 2016

What Do You Do With Rules?

Are you a nihilist? Are you a trickster god?

You're probably neither one.

You either play by the given rules or rebel against the rules. Both acknowledge the power and legitimacy of the rules. Both work to reinforce and strengthen all the rules.

But suppose you come to understand that all the rules could have been other than they are. Yes, all of them. And may yet be. Some rules have great duration--the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology, in decreasing duration--even the evolved psychology of humans has great duration, such that we work best in certain social rules that themselves could have been other than they are, but now must be as they are, given our evolved psychologies. And some rules could still be other than they are. See the varieties of languages, foods, poetries in all our varied cultures. Rules that could be otherwise, and have once been.

How, then, do you respond?

Despair? Contempt of the rules? That's nihilism.

Joy? Appreciation of what the rules can do even while knowing they can change? Then you're a trickster god.

We know the nihilists. Sad-sack, pathetic whiners who bomb to bomb, destroy to destroy, despair because nothing matters or has meaning.

But you don't know the trickster gods. Challenging the rules because they're rules, using them when they're useful, ignoring them when they're not, building new things, dancing our of love of life, joyful in meaning-creation and making-matter.

The nihilist is serious and appreciates nothing.

The trickster god appreciates everything and is serious about nothing.

The trickster is bound to ridicule the binds you place upon yourself. The trickster is bound to ridicule you if you seek to tighten all the binds of others. He ridicules your cruelty and misanthropy.

He laughs at autocrats and nihilists alike.

He laughs because he knows you could be free.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Colonizing by Church and State

In Spiral Dynamics, communitarian and individualist stages alternate. The state we are in, the egalitarian stage, is communitarian and the community feeling is created almost entirely by government. The communitarian stage that preceded it was the authoritarian stage, and the community feeling in it is created almost entirely by (typically monotheistic) religion. Between was classical liberalism, an individualistic stage.

In an essay I posted on Medium, I point out that we see alternations between the colonization of spontaneous orders by a single order (itself dominated by a single hierarchical organization) and the separation of the spontaneous orders. The Catholic church dominated all the spontaneous orders in the Medieval period, then the arts, the sciences, morality, philosophy, and even the religious order itself was separated off from it. Over the past century, governments have been colonizing those orders. Now that they have been as colonized as possible, they are being released yet again.

But this was the short version.