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The Purpose Driven Life


An underappreciated aspect of human society is that humans in large communities need a set of common beliefs. Large society in this context means anything larger than the Dunbar number. Once you get to that number, law codes and a way to enforce them are a necessity. One tool to do this is a common set of beliefs held by most of the members. This provides a mechanism for those rules to become a habit of mind, a shared reality we would think of as culture.

A simple example of this is a taboo against an activity. Let’s say a poisonous berry grows in a part of the forest. The people may develop a taboo about eating anything or even entering that part of the forest. Perhaps they evolve a legend about one of their gods cursing the place or prohibiting people from entering it. Once enough people believe this, it becomes part of the law code of society and it is enforced by collective action against those who break the taboo about entering that area.

It is a crude example, but we have many such examples in the modern day that are not much different from that crude example. For example, Americans remain convinced that eating fat will anger the health gods. There is no science behind the Standard American Diet, but most Americans accept it as true. They don’t think about it. It is just part of the shared beliefs they grew up with and live within, so they accept it as true. We accept all sorts of behavior and environmental nonsense on faith.

Now, it should be noted that the shared beliefs do not have to be accepted by everyone in a society for them to work. Going back to our sacred bit of the forest example, it is not necessary that everyone accept the myth. It just has to be a critical mass that accept it and is willing to act on it. Unless there is an equally compelling reason to resist the myth and the reason is held by a sufficient number of people, a minority belief will become the majority belief in practice, if not spirit.

It is not too hard to find examples of this form of minoritarianism. American history is riddled with causes that were championed by a minority. The proliferating set of taboos related to the Covid beliefs held by the ruling class are a great example. A tiny number of people, relative to the population, deeply believes in these Covid taboos, so they have launched a crusade against Covid. America looks like a weird Muslim country now, because lots of people joined this new belief.

That is another aspect of shared belief. It appears that another prerequisite for large human society is a sense of shared purpose. The answer to why we are here and what is the purpose of our lives is answered within that shared set of beliefs. “My life has meaning because I am part of this great cause of my people” is a highly efficient way of enforcing group behavior. The best rules are those eagerly enforced by a set of true believers whose purpose in life is to enforce compliance.

Move backward through popular politics in America and you see one holy crusade after another driving the political debate. Today it is driven by Covidians. Before that it was driven by white liberals thinking Obama was Jesus. Before that it was driven by the war on terrorism. When the Baby Boomers had kids in school the crusade was to fix the schools so everyone could be educated. Go back further and we had a war on drugs and, of course, the great crusade against the evils of communism.

American history has been one crusade after another. The great battle between good whites and bad whites exists because it fills that need for a purpose. In the albescence of some external foe, the good whites keep their crusading skills sharp by going to war with the bad whites over some moral cause. This not only gives purpose to their lives, but it also reinforces those shared beliefs about who they are and why they exist. The reaction from the bad whites serves much the same purpose.

If you observe the Covidians for a bit, you see this need for purpose. The HBD community, for example, rushed to be the early adopters of the new faith, sensing it was a way back into the community of the respectable. It was not a conscious decision on their part. They did not vote on their secret e-mail list to become Covidians. It was the result of a shared desire to be rehabilitated and restored to polite society, along with the general sense that their purpose in life is to inform the rulers on the human sciences.

The same can be said for the women volunteering to be the mask police in every community in America. The natural role of women has been so reduced in status that this artificial role of Covidian den mother has become highly appealing. Mothers have been far less emotional about things like mask wearing and social distancing than the army of unattached, childless females. The reason is they have kids to scratch that maternal itch, so being a Covidian den mother has little appeal.

The fact is, human societies need shared beliefs. One aspect of that shared belief is a shared purpose. Most people, certainly not all, need that space labeled “purpose” to be filled by society. This is especially true of childless females. It is also true for males with no male role to play. Stripped of natural sex roles, this need for purpose is filled with causes that give purpose to life. The people wearing masks in their cars are not sheep following orders. They are believers looking for a god.


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