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May 10, 2010


Ralph Musgrave

Arnold Toynbee said “Civilistions aren’t destroyed: they commit suicide”. Another example of the phenomenon alluded to above?

The desire by most people in the West to see their civilisation overrun by Islam and other incoming cultures is another example, isn’t it?

Also I agree with items 4 and 5 above.

Paul Sagar

You're only halfway there.

Yes there's the anthropomorphiwhatitsnameisation.

But there's also the advantage of bringing things under control. If it's not random chance but a capricious god that's at work, then suddenly you stand in a relationship of being able to influence that capricious god, rather than being a slave of fortune.

That means suddenly you have some sort of - albeit minimal - ability to exert influence and control over your situation. Generally, human beings would rather delude themselves into believing that their actions are not futile hostages to brute fortune than to face that brutality and to sit still, resigned to fate.

Nobody likes to be trapped in pointlessness - so inventing justifications for this pointlessness is an excellent coping strategy (and also a wise gamble just incase it's not actually pointless after all), even if it means fooling oneself into believing in a charade of ones own invention.

If this sort of stuff interests you, check out Nietzsche's On The Genealogy of Morals, especially the Third Treatise on Ascetic Ideals. Nietzsche is very hot on this sort of psychology stuff.

Also, I have a paper for you about the dumbness of Rational Choice theory; remind me to email it if I forget.

Fred Kapoor

I agree with the general insight of the article, however I wouldn't really compare all those features of nowadays business with ancient sacrifices. Maybe that's going too far.

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