Notes #7 The Problems with Ideology


Ideology is the mind killer.  But if so what is it?  Our entire system seems to loath the ideological, yet how can one avoid something that’s not understood or even defined?  Most of the avoidance of ideology are merely the attempts to uphold the sacred neutral.  If one can set the frame of what is normal thought,”non-ideological” thought, then one can control thought patterns. To think non-neutral thoughts is to engage in a narrative about the world.  Often when stumbling blindly out of the mainstream, when we sense there is something wrong with normal, and subsequently we find convenient explanations for what is wrong all around us.

Often these systems of thought are quite powerful at explaining the world around us.  For the moderately intelligent among us, these systems of thought might even be internally consistent.  At the very least they are internally consistent with what we know about the world.  The power of ideology feeds pride, as one can divine insights (many indeed valid) that others would never think of.  Yet it is telling that on some of the stranger sections of the internet the phrase sheeple is used to describe normal people. The narrative follows: that there IT sits atop a throne to peer down upon the world.  The unwashed masses pass before IT without a clue as to what is going on.  They do not think, about well anything very deeply at least.  Maybe a thought or two about what they will do next, but to hardly about why and what they know about the world.  Yet here the ideologue has found the TRUTH but, like Cassandra, no one will listen.

There is some truth to this (there have been many Cassandras in history) and yet it misses the heart of the matter.  Pride at a rare truth misses the wonder of being humble before the unknown.  The derision of “sheeple” misses their rational and valued approach to life.  The political for all its pop-bang pizazz is something that a very successful person could go their entire life without needing to engage with.  Whether it feeds off pride or envy ideology seems to engage with our baser drives.  It is an appeal to win the race not by running but my moving the finish line.

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Notes #7 The Problems with Ideology

Notes #2 A Recurrence in Forms

A Recurrence in Forms

One of the fundamental mistakes of the American experiment was the separation of church and state.  Now ostensibly this was about freedom of religion.  As with everything that was written in words and not men, it has become about the denial of religion. The trick to taking over a secular state is to create religion that doesn’t call itself one.  Now whether this religion was grown in a lab or just appeared in the wild one day is neither here nor there.  Such things exist we’ve seen plenty in the 19th and 20th and century. So what’s the solution? Why, state religion.

If you’ve hung around these parts for long enough you’ve probably heard the idea of state religion.  Not the state running religion mind you, just admitting that if a state religion is inevitable we might as well pick a good one and write it down on paper.  Of course, paper doesn’t make a religion people do.  The paper is just for show, and record keeping, the people are what counts.  Tolerance, as it turns out is not a property of the writing on the paper but the people and what they believe.  If you have tolerant people, even if everyone in the state believes the same thing, the state is tolerant.  If you have intolerant people even if you have a bouquet of belief systems they’re still intolerant.   So what do they believe?  Us today?  What do our actions tell us about our beliefs?

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Notes #2 A Recurrence in Forms

Notes #1

“With increasing abstraction and breadth of representation, the essential features comes to dominate the particular. As Eliade points out: traditional (that is, nonliterate) cultures have a historical memory that may be only three generations long – that is, as long as the oldest surviving individual is old. Events occurred previous to this are telescoped into something akin to the aboriginal Australian’s “dreamtime”: into the “trans-historical” period when ancestral heroes walked the earth, and established the behavioral patterns that constitute the present mode of being. This telescoping is the “mythologization” of history – and is very useful, from the perspective of efficient storage. We learn to imitate (and to remember) not individual heroes – and not the “objective” historical figures of the past – but what those heroes represented: the pattern of action that made them heroes.”

-Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief by Jordan B. Peterson

We live in what is or what is approaching a post-literate society. That is not to say we can’t read, though literacy is decreasing, but that we do not record cultural knowledge in a literate manner. Ask yourself, will a child educated in a top grade private school have accurate knowledge of his great-grandparents? When they become adults could they explain the objectives of their great-grandparents? Could they imitate faithfully their patterns of actions? No it would be nearly impossible. When our ancestors are attacked as racists, do we have a defense? They were racist. Yet as we know that does not explain their actions or lives. It is reductionist.  This reductionism breaks any mapping of meaning from past generations.

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Notes #1