Emancipating my tribe

Inclusivism and exclusivism in sacred and secular subcultures. Or, scaling up the in-group.

December 20, 2021 — November 1, 2022

making things

Assumed audience:

People who feel righteous when they do the right thing

Figure 1

A placeholder. I hope to touch upon the idea that

  1. People work collectively organise into tribes to address real and legitimate problems they face
  2. The tribes will often be antagonistic, conformist, cruel or otherwise not a great way to run society at large
  3. We should still address the real and legitimate problems at a large scale
  4. It is important to distinguish between dynamics of the tribe and the dynamics of the problem

Connection to pluralism. Connection to Idle Kantianism.

Figure 2
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field; I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.

— did Rumi actually say this? It sounds like the kind of thing he would have.

1 Collectivism is necessary and probably cruel

Collectivist cultures tend to meanness, and paranoia, and spite. To the extent that many subcultures have adopted collectivist modes to work together to lessen the burden of a dominant culture, they (which is to say, we) are likely to be vindictive.

Talheim and co-workers have written at length on collectivism.

Ingroup vigilance Liu et al. (2019).

Figure 3: From Liu et al. (2019); living somewhere high in collectivism (which is associated with rice agriculture) is also assocaited with suspicion regarding other people in the in-group. Suggestive moral: people who need to work together to survive learn to stay together use mistrust and coercion.

2 Pluralism

See pluralism.

3 Ecologies of communities

DRMacIver: Ladders between communities:

There’s a term of art I use, “communities of last resort”, which basically means communities that will take anyone as long as they can put up with the community. I have in mind places like 4chan, and some of the other forums of that ilk. They’re not good places, but for people who need a community of people who understand them, they’re often the only option, and they’re often surprisingly valuable. I definitely know people for whom 4chan was a positive and formative experience, and many others even more so.

I think what we often need is ladders out of these communities, and people who are from communities in “the next level up” to help people out. Less Wrong has served as this for a lot of people—many people find Less Wrong hugely life improving, partly because they come from a 4chan or Something Awful background, and this is the next community up from that for them and is willing to both tolerate their initial undersocialisation and help them improve their life.

To consider: Communities that have flourished as minorities. Jews, expat Chinese, Mormons, Quakers. Should scientists count there? Rationalists?

Ecosystems of minority communities. de Tocqueville-style meshing subcultures possibly connect here.

4 Incoming

5 References

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