Macro macro: Why world so WEIRD right now?

Modernity has swamped ancient systems of belief and meaning that we have long taken for granted, and like homeowners who have forgetten that their heater or basement walls or roof need occassional inspection and attention, we find ourselves puzzled by WEIRD right now,

Starring a sensible critique of wildly weirdly popular Jordan Peterson, this amusing and fascinating video brilliantly shows how what he is really about is mining for attention amongst lost puzzled survivors of decadent theistic biblically idolatrous culture:

A similar disaster, more obvious because more rapid, has seen the displacement of “the Press” by the madness of social media.

TOOWMNBN, and similar figures popping up around the world these days, seem to me as primarily empowered by these two huge shifts under our communal feet.

What do you all think?

david fb

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It’s an interesting exegesis of a handful of Jordan Peterson comments, but I’m not sure it sheds much light on anything. There have always been folks who engage in some woo hand-waving about how G-d is truth, or that looking for fundamental realities is inherently a search for G-d, or whatever. Sometimes it’s a subtle effort to discredit the idea that secularism can exist, that all efforts to understand the world are inherently a religion. From this little slice of Peterson’s comments, I think he’s just muddling up the idea of “the ultimate” (the highest in one’s value hierarchy, the greatest extent of knowledge of the physical world) as “the divine.” It’s nonsense, but I don’t think it’s particularly new nonsense - its pedigree includes the effort to label “secular humanism” as a religion back in the 70’s and 80’s in the pushback against certain scientific lessons.

As for the displacement of “the Press” by social media, I think that’s partially a matter of perception rather than a change. People have always heard, believed, and disseminated lots of ideas that “the Press” would regard as nonsense and falsehood - they just did so in ways that weren’t very visible, and didn’t rely on things that looked like media the way social media does. Sure, we’re a long way from Walter Cronkite (or Edward R. Murrow), when “the Press” was more monolithic and appeared to be more successful at inculcating a shared understanding of truth. But I think at least part of the reason that’s changed is because social media is so visible to everyone, so that when falsehoods and myths and rumors and made-up BS gets disseminated there’s a record of it happening because it’s self-published on national platforms, rather than the almost entirely oral transmission that used to promulgate that carp among the uninformed.

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Could you translate that please?

Probably something like “The Other One Who Must Not Be Named.”

Pete

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TOOWMNBN = The Other One Who Must Not Be Named

(the “original one” being Lord Voldemort of Harry Potter, as the bureaucratic powers that be of witchdom insisted that Lord V was permanently dead, did not do what he did, and would never return unless spoken of too often…).

He is most often referred to on METAR as “#45”.

d fb

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Thanks. I tried a web search but all I got was info on some place in Australia

Yes, and another, shorter acronym: TFG (the former guy), although David’s implies an evil that is likely more appropriate, especially now.

Pete

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My key point, not stated strongly enough, is that Jordan Peterson’s success is NOT with people of our generation, but with youngsters from Judaeo Christian backgrounds whose knowledge of reality is now sufficient that they are unable to accept the old verities. Peterson is catering to them, exploiting an actual crisis of faith and meaning. Our crazy politics is a result of an intense collapse of old verities, and the panic that insues from that.

d fb

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Jordan Peterson is so shrill. I’m glad to see someone take some air out of him.

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Hasn’t that been a pretty common thing over the generations? 20 somethings rejecting their parents’ way of thinking as old fashioned and not appropriate for the realities of today (whenever that “today” is).

In the 1960s it was long-haired hippies rebelling. In the 1920s it was flappers. Even Plato is attributed to saying

They disrespect their elders, they disobey their parents. They ignore the law. They riot in the streets, inflamed with wild notions.

Here’s a few more over the ages:

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Sure, but nothing near levels we see now. “Nones” are exploding in numbers, and many churches are closing forever.

d fb

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Technology has increased the frequency and amplitude of agitation, and when things get crazy, we extrapolate awful things.

But don’t worry. It’ll all be over soon. At least that’s what we’ve been saying for millennia.

Sure, maybe. I’m not really familiar with Peterson’s larger body of work. The stuff in that video wasn’t anything novel, though. He’s basically just using some woo-woo to argue that things that are actually secular are really divine (at least, in the way that ordinary people understand those terms). But folks have been doing that for decades and decades. His particular brand of woo-woo is a little weird - the idea that perceiving a glass is evidence of the divine is bizarre - but the broad concept has a long pedigree.

But again - that video really only looked at about three minutes of Peterson statements, repeated over and over again. So I’m sure it’s a very incomplete snapshot of his beliefs and why he has such a following.

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There’s a huge amount of motivational videos on all social media platforms. For people lacking Motivation or Discipline in their life. You know the kind. A video showing an athlete rising early in the morning, in pain, in the cold, going through his routine. Other people laughing at the protagonist, yet they remain stoic in front of all the challenges. A deep voice narrates and explains how all the grind and hard work is going to make us successful etc. So many people lack the discipline to accomplish what they want. And they keep watching this dreaming becoming disciplined and reaching their goals. It gives them a quick motivational hit.
Peterson is like that but for people lacking Meaning in their life. Peterson is persuasive enough. Or rather, sounds persuasive enough - as Alex O’Conner correctly pointed out in the video, because Peterson is not actually very precise in his speech. Peterson found his niche and he’s doing his best to milk it.

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Oh. I thought he was referred to as Dolt 45.

My bad.

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Then again, the (sometimes unwarranted) collapsing of old verities, and destabilization of societies may well be part of a strategic plan pursued by self-interested players, supported by useful (or paid-off) fools…

Is such “collapse” necessarily a bad thing? “Verities” is usually spoken here as “traditional family values” or “traditional American values”, which are used as dog whistles for white supremacy and imposed rigid religious doctrine. I am not really sure “Verities” ( the quality or state of being true, real, or correct) are anything to be clung to, to make people comfortable, if those “Verities” are justifications for bigotry.

Steve

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Me not being a native speaker, FB made me look it up before I posted, so this is how I understood it:

noun

plural noun: verities

  1. a true principle or belief, especially one of fundamental importance.

“the eternal verities”

  • truth.

“irrefutable, objective verity”

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Right, the truth, according to someone. In the US, that “truth” is often reeking of bigotry. I wish I could remember the name of the company that is selling an “educational” curriculum in the US that, effectively, says all good things have been done by white people.

Ah, the net is a wonderful thing.

PragerU’s videos contain misleading or factually incorrect information promoting climate change denial. Historians and political scientists have also criticized PragerU’s videos for containing misleading or inaccurate claims about topics such as slavery and racism in the United States, immigration, and the history of fascism. PragerU has been accused of promoting anti-LGBT politics

Some states embrace the bile that Prager spreads, because it reflects their view of “traditional American, family, values”.

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Concern for the “truth” is a concern