“The ordinary modes of human thinking are magical, religious, social, and personal. We want our wishes to come true; we want the universe to care about us; we want the approval of those around us; we want to get even with that s.o.b. who insulted us at the last tribal council. For most people, wanting to know the cold truth about the world is way, way down the list.”
–Known Hate Thinker John Derbyshire
I’ve always liked that formulation. The term “magical thinking” is overused, mostly by people prone to it, like feminists and Gaia worshipers. Even so, the whole thought expressed above is a good starting point for understanding the other meat sticks around us. Most people invest their time in the social and personal, but a small number of people spend their time looking at the world, trying to understand it. Many of these people are insane, but highly functional.
The thing is, those modes of thought are manifestations of other features, more primal aspects of humans. These are qualities that can be observed in people everywhere. One of those features is the willingness to believe. We tend to think of belief as religious belief, but 20th century communists were the truest of true believers.The Nazis were pretty much a secular cult organized around a Utopian belief about the Aryan future. The Amish are entirely harmless, but true believers in their brand of Christianity.
The willingness to accept the assertions of others is not the same in all of us and it is not always tied to intelligence. It may be tied to intelligence, but criminals often have low levels of belief, despite having below average intelligence. College professors often fall for nonsense, despite having a very high IQ. Look at the number of physicists who were also communists.The great mathematician Blaise Pascal was a deeply religious Christian, who put his life at risk for his faith. This guy actually write a little paper on the subject.
A related quality is the thirst for perfection. Social justice, broadly defined, is the pursuit of human perfection. You never hear social justice warriors promoting half measures. Theirs is the pursuit of the perfect as they think things like crime, racism and immorality can be abolished. They are not just seeking a perfect society. They think they can make perfect people. The absurd and dangerous habit of policing the space between people’s ears with hate crimes and speech crimes in an obvious example.
Another basic feature of humanity popular in some HBD circles is altruism. The alternative being clannishness. This is one of those individual traits that is best studied in groups. Some people are less trusting of strangers than others and some are more willing to cooperate with others not in their kin group. In order to have a modern economy, you have to have a certain degree of trust between strangers so that people will plan for the future, take risks and so forth. You cannot have a modern economy in a low-trust society.
Despite the best efforts of the people in charge of our countries, it is the actions of millions of anonymous people doing the right thing for millions of anonymous people simply because they believe it is the proper thing to do. It’s not just the willingness to help others but it is the desire to be seen as honest and trustworthy by total strangers that makes a modern economy tick. By modern economy, I mean modern in the post-agricultural era modern. There’s some argument that technology is driving us toward the habits of a pre-modern economy.
Finally, the willingness to embrace the supernatural is defining feature of man. All of us, to a certain degree, believe in ghosts. Like altruism, the embrace of the supernatural is not universal. The women I see at the tarot card reader have a much higher acceptance of the supernatural than someone like me. There are people who are sure voices from the spirit world help guide their decisions. The concept of luck or fortune is basically another name for the supernatural. I’ve known computer programmers to prattle on endlessly about their luck at the casino.
Progressives accept all sorts of supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon. For instance, male college students will take advantage of drunk sleazy coeds because of a mystical force called “rape culture.” Progressives are convinced institutional racism keeps NAM’s down, even though Progressives control all the institutions.”Institutional racism” can be replaced with the word “ghosts” and their protests make more sense. Many people are absolutely sure Hitler will come back at any minute and restart the Third Reich.
The funny thing about all this is a proper human society needs a balance of these things as no one would want to live in a world of transactional, highly skeptical cynics. Vulcan is a nice science fiction construct, but it probably could not exist. We need the desire to improve in order to make society better. We need to trust one another in order to conduct large scale public works and organize for self-defense. Belief in the form of Western Christianity carried humanity forward for a thousand years or more.
Even the belief in ghosts has some value. It keeps people from violating social taboos, the logic of which is too complicated for most people to understand. The supernatural was a useful tool in public safety. Telling people that the bog was full of monsters kept people, especially kids, from going into the bog and getting lost. Many people live moral lives because they truly believe God is watching their every deed and taking notes so they can be judged in the after life. the excuse of bad luck helps sooth the effects of failure.
The trouble is that all over the West we see that these qualities have swung well into the range of dangerous. The willingness of the EU to fling open the doors to Muslim hordes is what HBD’ers call pathological altruism. Everything we can observe about people from these lands tells us that they cannot make it in a modern Western society. Yet, an overwhelming desire to help strangers is driving the mothers of Europe to sacrifice the inheritance of their sons to help the Muslims.
The American college campus is under the control of ideological fanatics, who believe in their causes so deeply they are willing to ruin friends and family on behalf of their cause. Thought crimes have become so common, we take them for granted. Readers of this blog take steps to make sure their employers are unaware that they read sites like this one, for fear the morality police will come calling. Supporting a candidate like Trump has become a private act of rebellion.
The only thing missing from this toxic stew is an excessive believe in the supernatural, but the hunt for hate thinkers is really just a modern form of witch hunting. Everywhere you look, the dials are all turned to eleven. The best qualities, at least the best mix of qualities, that allowed the West to rocket past the world are now in abundance and threatening the whole enterprise. Whatever governor or brake that was in place in the past has been lost and the engine is revving into the red zone.
Something has gone wrong.