1. We are all, at heart, covetous xenophobic apes, and we've been doing the same basic thing (arbitrarily define an in-group and an out-group and proceed to wage total war on the out-group) since before we were even human. This is just the latest iteration of the thing we've always done.
2. For more than a decade now, people have been spending fortunes building platforms and algorithms that rely on ever-increasing user 'engagement', often without really knowing what that is. As it turns out, conflict is the most engaging kind of engagement. Twitter especially is a machine for conflict - it funnels anger-inducing information to the user and makes it trivial to strike back at the source of the anger. I really don't think anybody did this on purpose, but it's what we ended up with.
This doesn't feel right. I ask myself, do I go places to look for people to fight with? Emphatically no. Do you? Probably not. I just read this great|hateful book|movie|thing. I want to talk about it with people who have experienced this book|movie|thing, would be great if they saw it the way I did, also great if they disagreed but we could discuss it with a shared language and experience. I feel we are too far apart and too lonesome to go around picking fight, do picking fights form groups? I don't usually engage because 1) strangers on the Internet mean little to me; 2) I think I hold an unpopular opinion; 3) I'm not driven to articulate every thought I have. Conflict drives a good story, I think that's true in a narrative sense, but I don't think it's true we humans go looking for it. I want to believe we are more cooperative creature than a belligerent one. The whole Twitter/Facebook "like" culture is a testament, we want to belong.
> do I go places to look for people to fight with? Emphatically no. Do you? Probably not.
People seem to love information that ridicules and hates on "the other side" (e.g. in politics). They like seeing the other side being put down, and the feeling of superiority they can get from that.
1. Joe Biden calls game developers "little creeps" who make titles that "teach you how to kill"
3. Father tackles son’s opponent after illegal move at high school wrestling match
4. Jaylen Brown murders LeBron
5. Puerto Rico fires two more officials after Hurricane Maria aid found unused ...
6. This is how a grown woman decided to act toward someone peacefully protesting a fur store
8. Joe Biden calls game developers "little creeps" who make titles that "teach you how to kill"
9. Breaktester gets what he deserves (/r/instantkarma)
11. Just another day in Texas (/r/idiotsincars)
More than half of the front page is about the "other side" losing, and this is on one of the most browsed websites on the Internet.
> This doesn't feel right. I ask myself, do I go places to look for people to fight with? Emphatically no. Do you? Probably not.
Most people are thrust with conflicts on TV. It may not have been their choice to go to, but that’s the fare available from most TV networks (especially the only fare on news and news related debates). World over, the networks know what attracts and addicts more eyeballs (it is conflict and frustration). Social networks also amplify these kinds of conversations. You may visit Twitter to just read some interesting piece of information from someone you admire or like, but the platform is built in a way to distract you over and over again into a deeper rabbit hole of conflict. It’s the same on other “engagement driven” business models too.
I really think #2 is a good point, but I get frustrated at many arguments for #1. People are emotional beings and will seek out fights, but that doesn't mean all fights are arbitrary. People that talk too long about the Culture War on a meta level, without ever considering specifics and painting it all as pointlessly arbitrary, strike me like "both sides are the same"-type centrists, lacking any interesting positions or even understanding, and are just focused on feeling superior to both sides.
Maybe the issue is I see concerns that we can address bigotry in media and harassment in other environments as the core of the "Culture War", and the worst instances of "cancel culture" as weird outliers to it that can be fixed, but some others think of the worst instances of cancel culture as what the Culture War is about, and the saner conversations are weird unimportant outliers. But as long as we're taking the hundred-foot view of talking vaguely about "Culture War" and treating it as arbitrary arguments, we're not going to realize we're not even talking about the same thing, and it's just posturing around how we already felt about the phrase.
 When I refer to the worst instances of cancel culture, I'm not referring to cases of celebrities just not getting renewed after publicly being bigots, but the cases where the backlash gets personal and mismatched for the issue. ContraPoint's video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjMPJVmXxV8 talks about the sort of thing I'm referring to.
That said, I don't think the author of the article really supported his points adequately. He seems to have a very strange view of the world and society driven by and centered on his own experience rather than research or any kind of science. This paragraph:
"Online public spaces are now being slowly taken over by beef-only thinkers, as the global culture wars evolve into a stable, endemic, background societal condition of continuous conflict. As the Great Weirding morphs into the Permaweird, the public internet is turning into the Internet of Beefs. "
...Is a good example. I don't think many people would agree that "the global culture wars" are a thing, or that continuous conflict as he sees it is a stable condition or endemic.
I get the impression he's a young person who has bought into the snake oil of the Internet being the Thing That Changes Everything and now that he's tired of waiting for the singularity to occur, he's disillusioned and griping about it.
“We are not beefing endlessly because we do not desire peace or because we do not know how to engineer peace. We are beefing because we no longer know who we are, each of us individually, and collectively as a species.”
I think we are seeing a genuine lack of strong family, social, and organizational ties among most people, myself (sadly) included. I don’t think I or any of my peers fully grasp what we’re missing and how isolated we truly are. I think we as a cohort had very good reasons for participating in that change, such as me (an LGBT person) leaving the Catholic church I was raised in rather than bury that other part of myself to fit in. The problem is that I replaced it with nothing, and I think the same pattern has repeated across many other people and many other traditions. The temptation is to suggest MeetUps and other things built to connect people, but those suggested replacements don’t come with the same assumption of trust built in like many traditional organizational and family ties do.
Sports leagues, fraternal societies (like the Elks or Masons), parent-teach organizations, volunteer organizations (like the Boy Scouts or Red Cross), and labor unions have all seen their memberships steadily decline for the better part of the last 50 years. Doubly so among the youngest generations.
Beyond that, in general we have much fewer close social ties than we used to. Marriage rates have plummeted, which means many fewer people have a spouse. Surveys show that Americans have only about half the number of close friends as they did a generation ago. The sizable majority of Americans don't even know their neighbors. And of course birth rates have plummeted, which means that the number of siblings the average person has, and eventually aunts, uncles and cousins are all decreasing.
In general the central sociological fact of the modern-era is the unprecedented degree of social atomization that most of us now face.
Someone older than me, of the hippie generation, once said to me "There were like three TV channels and they went off the air at 10pm. If you were still awake after that, there was nothing to do but sex and drugs."
I strongly suspect the 24/7 availability of free entertainment, live online discussion, etc is a large contributing factor to the trend towards celibacy. I don't think this is a bad thing. And it's being achieved without some preacher putting the fear of God in you and telling you impure thoughts will get you an eternity in hell.
It fills the same emotional needs just enough to make it hard to get up off your ass and put the effort into going out and finding people with common interests and making friends with some of them, but it does not provide anywhere near a full emotional diet.
'Typing to people' is different to talking to them, but it has its own very real and rich reward, that I feel is different to but overlaps with talking.
That overlap means that yes, sometimes my need for connection with other people can be sustained entirely by typing, but not forever.
Along the same lines, I do not get exactly the same reward from talking to people as I do typing, and I find that after several days without spending some time thinking and typing to other people, I itch to get back and just have a back and forth about something online.
Usually, I prefer this to be something that I and the person I'm talking to agree on, and we're plumbing the depths of shared experience, but sometimes to much chagrin it definitely is 'beef'.
Sometimes I wonder if this is because the sort of people I type to online are very different to most of the people I talk to offline, but I don't honestly think that explains the whole thing.
Typing is great, theres a certain density of information and shorthand inherent in how we write and use punctuation (much like how a lot can be said with gestures and facial features) as well as a sort of shared purpose (we all came to this website to have a particular kind of experience, everyone present is in a particular sort of mood)
If everybody had sex today tomorrow would be awesome. I welcome a world where women are not slut shamed and it is normal for a 20 year old girl to brag at the office that she had an amazing fuck Yesterday from a random hit-and-run.
Today, outside of your family and maybe some friends nobody really cares about your drug use or sex life. There are some prohibitions by law, but I doubt these are too relevant.
I often ask myself from which cult people have escaped or how old they are if they indict current society of being restrictive or even suppressing in some way. Frankly, I don't see that at all. Maybe it is a wish, since that would mean that society cares at least somehow.
Maybe I am lucky, but I don't really see restrictive norms anywhere. You see a lot of people not caring though. The internet is no reference here. You can save a puppy from its inevitable demise and certainly someone will be deeply offended by your actions.
> If everybody had sex today tomorrow would be awesome [...]
Always a better tomorrow... but I highly doubt that. Some might crave sex and some might crave intimacy. Anyone bragging in the office about hook ups would be suspected to seeking confirmation. The same is true for males since quite some time. Cultural suppression? I don't think so. Because if you would do that, I think the repercussions would be almost negligible. Some will judge you, but that will happen if you wear the same pants twice. Maybe not a bad choice of fetish, but certainly no fight for more freedom.
Say what now
No, you don't. I work with a (trans) woman who has absolutely no sense of "slut shame" and listening to her recount tales of her sexual exploits every day makes me dread a job I used to find fun and rewarding.
I can stay in my bubble now. Thanks Internet!
I'm very much okay with this.
I'd be very happy if this was also the case for other networks. Feels like a competent moderation team (not necessarily paid; forums in the good old days had people competing to be voluntary moderators) would make mainstream social media a lot more enjoyable.
Moderation seems to generally be better when it is paid. I've done plenty of moderating in my time. I currently am the moderator or a number of things. I'm generally a good moderator.
I'm also dirt poor and I resent the fact that I do so many things for free for people without it coming back to me and my extreme poverty actively interferes at times with my ability to tend to unpaid obligations while I try to eke out a living doing something else for a bit, etc.
I generally have a pretty good track record of doing things for free that I'm willing to do for free and not dumping on other people about how they aren't paying me to do this, but I have seen plenty of moderators over the years have a snit fit about how the membership is ungrateful and they do this out of the goodness of their heart and You People need to behave better, appreciate us more, and quit being so much drama since it's all free, dagnabbit.
I think if you really, truly value something, you should be okay with people being able to do that work and actually somehow pay their own bills because of it.
Reddit is sort of a weird grey zone where Reddit actually makes money and has paid staff, but most moderation on Reddit is unpaid. And I run a few Reddits and I'm still trying to figure out what I think of that weird beast.
But, generally speaking, as someone who has done tons of volunteer work in my life and has also spent a lot of years very poor where all that "goodness of my heart" crapola didn't do a fucking thing for me when I needed some "goodness" from someone else, I think if you resent the service you use for free somehow making money and actually paying its staff, (trying to think of a more PC way to end this sentence and failing -- suffice it to say, I don't have a high opinion of such people).
There are a lot of people out there who would be happy to work for free to help their community out; forums used to work like that before being made mostly irrelevant by the social media garbage. If you consider that a problem then it's not for you and that's okay. (I wouldn't do it full time either now that I have a job, but back in my teenage years I had lots of free time that I was happy to donate for free, and indeed my Stack Exchange account's reputation - useless internet points - is a testimony to that.)
Paying people means the company needs to put in a significant amount of resources (technical, legal and staff) to manage that, something companies might not want to invest in (at least not right now). Random internet points is at least a stop-gap solution to let the community manage moderation without much investment nor management from the company, and would definitely be a good upgrade from the status-quo.
As a counterpoint, for people having their community's best interests at heard, being paid might actually be a downgrade. I contributed to Stack Exchange years ago for free because I liked to help people and help the community I was part of. I did so on my own time and terms. Being paid would've meant I now had a duty to do it and I couldn't for example decide that I wasn't in the mood to contribute one evening because it was now a job. The other issue is that being paid means you have the company's best interests at heart instead of the community, and those might not align. It's easy to break rules or "look the other way" for the sake of the community when you're a volunteer, less so when your paycheck depends on it.
Plenty of hikikomori in the safe, walkable Tokyo. What's keeping them inside?
I would guess they've shut themselves in and away from the shame and rejection by society and have found the tiny inkling of happiness possible in that hole. And as society continues to rejects them further for being in a hole, the hole only gets deeper.
Understandable, since the minute they go outside, everything is stacked against them and even with help, they probably won't be able to compete on the same level as the normal people who didn't fall into the hole. I can't win outside, but I can be happy in my hole. Hole good, outside bad.
You sound like you're making an excuse for a lack of friends by implying there is no one worth being friends with? Perhaps I've inferred too much, I sure hope so...
You see what's unique about the overall style over and over, and you don't yet see what's unique about each work, so the art form seems simplistic and repetitive even if it is no more so than others you already enjoy.
This one phrase combines Marx's notion of alienation and commodity fetishism into one - it's odd how relevant Marx's sociological analysis is today.
That "assumption of trust" you speak of included an assumption that either you weren't LGBT or you would bury it your entire life for the comfort of the larger community.
34"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35For I have come to turn "'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law- 36a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'
I would say you did the actual Christian thing by leaving. But I'm not Christian, so I'm sure many will find that assertion offensive.
Community cannot be founded upon an assumption that some people will bury an important part of themselves like that. That's a foundation of sand and will not last.
We are seeing such things dissolve because we have other options these days. In the past, people often grudgingly tolerated it because they had no place to go, not because being part of some larger community was some wonderfully fulfilling experience most of the time.
If the world is seeing a loss of identity, it is because we are being freed from the shackles of our old identity. It's normal for there to be a transition period where no one knows what's what.
That's not a problem. It's just a stage in a process.
It's only a problem if we get stuck here and fail to establish a new identity. Then the great experiment fails, the opportunity to become something better is lost and we likely see things crash and burn so the world can sort of return to it's old ways that kind of worked.
The LGBT community comes with it's own shackles. They assume the only natural thing is for someone to structure their whole identity and lives around what might just be a developmental phase of their youth. I'm certainly glad that type of thinking wasn't promoted when I was growing up.
People who are able to distinguish themselves through individual achievement seem much less inclined to structure their identities around race, sex and other mostly immutable charactertistics.
There's also no such thing as the LGBT community. There's only a community of LGBT people who hold similar political opinions, and whole lot of LGBT people who disagree with them.
I don't speak for that community. My remark in no way suggests that their agenda is somehow superior to that of the Catholic Church.
Care to expand on your experience?
>We are seeing such things dissolve because we have other options these days.
1) Do we have other options? I think we do, but I don't think the saturation is nearly as high as churchgoing or temple-attending was throughout history.
>In the past, people often grudgingly tolerated it because they had no place to go, not because being part of some larger community was some wonderfully fulfilling experience most of the time.
2) Religions grew and spread in every civilization for millenia. Ancestor worship in East Asia. Hinduism in South Asia. Animism among natives everywhere. Christianity in the West. What if religion and religious community grew and took the forms they did, because they met humanity's social and emotional needs?
So I would restate the original comment as asking (i) what problems arise when something everyone depended on so long disappears in a relatively short time, and (ii) how can we handle those problems. Importantly, stating these questions isn't suggesting that everyone needs to return to religion (which wouldn't even be possible without un-discovering science).
There are other ways to attend gatherings of people now. You and I are attending one of them right this minute: a forum on the internet.
For my purposes, talking with people on HN is generally superior to most meatspace options.
I have a compromised immune system. No one is going to cough on me on HN.
I'm a woman. This is an overwhelmingly male space. No one here can physically assault me the way they could in meatspace.
I can talk to people all over the world who have taken an intense and serious interest in a variety of subjects, so I can get rich discussion on a variety of topics. This won't happen in most meatspace environments.
In meatspace, it ends up being a great deal more important for people to have a long list of thibgs in common. Smokers tend to congregate together because strict non smokers don't even like being around them. Sexual orientation ends up being a thornier issue, especially in a small community where you are trying to choose a future mate from a small dating pool.
Religion presumably spread because it worked well for that time, or at least was the least worst solution. We have other options now for connecting with people. Those options are incredibly important to how the world works currently and people have flocked to them.
It's how you can argue the point with me at all.
And yet women managed to exist in outside society and participate in all kinds of actions in the 60s and 70s for example (including protests, acid tests, trips to India, and all kinds of stuff), under much worse conditions (re: average societal sexism, etc), without all today's drama.
It's like how in general violent crime is at an all time low, but people are more scared and panicked about it than in past 20th century decades (when it was 2x-3x as much).
I was sexually assaulted as a child. I don't think I have been as an adult. I like keeping it that way.
There are things I attend in meat space. I'm not a shut in. I just enjoy the fact that talking with people online about things that interest me simplifies certain elements for me.
I might feel differently if I could find better intellectual engagement in meat space than online. If the entire internet were vapid memes, I might be all "Book club here I come!" (or whatever)
But I get more of what I really want here with less potential downside. It's a win-win in my book.
The reason I'm no longer convinced is that such simplification carries with it a component of convenience that makes it awfully easy to isolate ourselves from those who may differ from our thinking and outlook and it seems to be human nature, backed by an awful lot of history, that we prefer to avoid such inconveniences in favor of reinforcing our preferences.
The problem with avoiding the inconvenience of being exposed to different thinking is two-fold: isolation bubbles that allow us to come to beliefs absent any real opposition which leads to intellectually weak conclusions and an exposure to the overwhelming commonality that most people have with each other absent a few contentious beliefs/ideas. The lack of recognition of such commonality allows "othering" based on minor differences in a way that simply did not exist in most Western societies of the last few hundred years.
It may indeed be what we wanted but I'm unconvinced it resulted in what we need.
Because of the context of what you are replying to, this comes awfully close to implying that women should politely endure routine sexual assault for some reason.
I assume that wasn't your intent. But I didn't engage with your comment earlier because I have no idea how to take your point seriously and respect your point of view without inadvertently implying myself "Why, you're right! Women shouldn't be so ridiculously picky about their personal welfare with regards to sexual matters!"
If you just listened to the media on any subject these days, it would be hard to leave the house, yeah. But that's less because life is so dangerous and more because the media loves to use primal fears to engage people to keep watching.
Your statements "I might feel differently if I could find better intellectual engagement in meat space than online. If the entire internet were vapid memes, I might be all "Book club here I come!" (or whatever)" presumably do not imply that if the internet were more vapid you would politely endure routine sexual assault for better intellectual engagement either.
My reply was specifically about the problems of the internet as a replacement for meatspace intellectual engagement.
I didn't quite know how to say what I wanted to say, but that is, in fact, not too different from what I was implying. Not that I would politely endure routine sexual assault, but I would be much more willing to take my chances if I had no means to get my intellectual needs met without being exposed to such dangers.
I don't think I should have to be exposed to such dangers to get my intellectual needs met, but some comments here seem to suggest that me wanting to both get my intellectual needs met and not be subjected to sexual harassment is some kind of crazy high ridiculous standard.
My original point, which I still stand behind, is that the internet has not proven itself capable of actually fully meeting people's intellectual needs but instead often provides the illusion of doing so. It is not unlike the difference between doing work (meeting an actual need) vs being busy (the feeling of achievement without actually achieving).
People are generally courteous, and discussions are often interesting and thought provoking.
After leaving academia, I really missed the "intellectual engagement in meat space". Especially after going rural, and working remotely.
Historically, you only found high levels of intellectual engagement in big cities, at big universities. But thinking deeply requires peace and quiet and control over your schedule. Intellectuals have a long history of trying to get away from it all so they could read, meditate, etc.
Now, you don't have to choose. You can have both, at will.
It's almost like some of us still remember, and that's why we bring drama when some people would like to sweep all that under the rug - and ideally wind the clock back while being at it.
They were much more effectively silenced or persuaded to put up with it, yes. That's how you avoid drama: find the person with less power in the situation and threaten them into shutting up.
Just recently there was a thread on Asimov pointing out that his harassment of women at SF cons was an open joke. The BBC's re-broadcasting of the popular music programme "Top Of The Pops" has been affected by their decision not to show episodes presented by known sex offenders - this took out a huge chunk of the 70s episodes presented by Jimmy Savile and others.
But that doesn't mean that it wasn't there or that there wasn't a problem - just that they were less able to talk about it without more severe consequences to themselves, and we've hardly moved past that now. Dismissing it all as just "drama" sounds like implicitly wishing that the situation would go back to suffering in silence.
The only problem is that there were other times of such "freedom from the shackles of our old identity" and they didn't end well -- even if centuries later things picked up.
The late Greek city states, the late Roman empire for one, modern Britain and France (second rate global players, politically and culturally, where they used to be first), and so on... US is close...
What if this old identity and social structures based on religious texts is essential for human beings and human beings are not capable of forging for themselves a new identity without guidance?
I think that was exactly what the parent comment was saying, except for pointing out that millions of people have gotten stuck there, and it's been getting worse for decades across the entire developed world. It's even worse in Japan, for example, than in the US, and the collapsing customs and institutions there mostly don't include religion.
Around the world, we're getting out from under religious and secular systems that were pretty good for the majority and quite bad for the minority, but so far we've failed dramatically at replacing them with something that is better for everyone. This is progress, but it's not enough.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but your tone makes me believe you think your coworker made the wrong decision.
I'm actually jealous of your coworker. Currently, if someone offered me a better career opportunity, I'd likely take it without hesitation; but I wish that weren't the case. I don't hate my current position, but I wish I loved it more to the point where leveling up, learning the newest framework, and making more money wasn't the priority.
On top of that, everyone around me seems to be more focused on the trajectory of their life rather than their current situation, so I feel like its hard for me to get out of this rat race mindset.
I think the current tech industry rat race and churn is socially stifling in the sense that you must become nomadic and chase opportunity. By the time you settle in its time to move again. I see people working the same job at the same company with families and homes who although make less than the average tech worker, appear to me much more happy and fulfilled in life.
'Moving on in your career' may be horribly overrated, or at the very least not something everyone prioritises the same way.
Enjoying the work you do, and the people you do it with, and being satisfied by same, may be a sufficiently compelling reason to not engage in high-risk behaviour for the sake of 'advancing your salary'.
My parents' community all met their spouses and friends at work, whereas people of my age seem to find something unprofessional about this. And I believe that old-fashioned civic organizations like the Elks were built from a tangle of professional relationships.
And realistically, where are you going to find a stronger community than among the people with whom you spend 40 hours a week?
I am not religious myself (but I am slowly having a greater appreciation of religion as I get older).
Unfortunately a lot of atheists just decided they knew everything once they realised that the Bible wasn't the literal truth. Many Christians wouldn't claim that and Atheists tend to point at the likes of Ken Ham to strawman the rest of the Christianity.
However I do appreciate Christianity in Europe is very different than it is in the USA.
One of the benefits of religion as I see it is an establishment of a morality that rises above "that which is popular in the moment." Most people are too busy dealing with the minutiae of day-to-day living to sit back and ponder the philosophy of morality, and while some religions may hold unpalatable beliefs they at least have the virtue of being predictable as opposed to the temporary vagaries of the mob.
Sun Tzu wrote about humans acting as a bigger organism when an army work together as one.
And with that in mind, and with your comment on top of that, I wonder:
We generally agree that self-awareness is a sign of general intelligence, right? So if a group of people see them selves as one, in some sense, and act as one in some sense, then could we say that we are witnessing an organism that is built from people and that is elevated over the mind of just each of the individual people?
In the same way that we people are made of what I will very scientifically refer to as “a bunch of smaller stuff” but yet we are more than just the individual bits of stuff we are made of because as a whole each of us have our self-awareness and all that.
That is, something of higher general intelligence than its parts.
Many HN users seem to have a strong knee-jerk reaction against criticism of capitalism, however gentle or thoughtful.
Please don't comment about the voting on comments. It never does any good, and it makes boring reading.
Commenting on votes will only make you get downvoted more, regardless of how virtuous your comment was.
This whole comment just reeks of fanciful anti-capitalism with little real substance.
Is the Firm energized by alienating one worker from another? Is there, from that event, free energy? I don't think so. In fact, it's energetically costly to dis-organize social bonds, but for the Firm it's an investment in a more alienated--and therefore more vulnerable--future workforce.
If the firm extracted energy from social bonds, it would collect well-bonded groups, and "spend" them. Oh, wait. That's what acquisitions do, isn't it?
And are they not, also, affected by what they do not choose but nonetheless consume?
Many have found that comfort and certainty in the ideological tenets of the political groups with which they form affinities. As a bonus, people find a sense of belonging that is fairly similar to what 50 years ago those same people would have found in the various churches or temples.
Again, just a theory, but I think this is why a lot of political arguments have started to resemble almost clashes of religious dogmas. Or what the author has termed, "beefs".
Between Baptists and Catholics for instance. Or between jews and muslims. Etc etc etc. Clashes of religious dogmas have been raging just about as long religions have been around. If I remember correctly, Ancient Egyptians attempted to strike entire dynasties from the record because this Pharoah believed in One God, or that Pharoah moved the capitol too far from more appropriate lands.
There has been history altering levels of "beef" between religious peoples over the millennia.
Membership and trust in these apparently feels great. That feeling is dangerous. That trust is not build on truths being told, it is build on unquestioned authority and aggression.
Reflection from a country where such groups are on the rise and not a side players anymore.
There are people willing to drink poison for their cult - I don't see that level of religious fervour from the vast majority of people.
People who join an established religion also vary wildly. Gangsters and pedophiles sit next to soccer mums and librarians at church services.
I don't see the predictability or religious-(ity) being at all normalised.
"Unquestioning fervor" is not there yet.
They are scary, because their appeal and promis is "I am gon na be tough and violent and anything else is weakness".
I read this entire sentence and still wasn't sure which side you were referring to because this applies equally to "the left" in my experience.
The loss of cultural meeting places, be they churches, or arcades, or malls, is something I consider a huge loss as well. The pendulum might swing the other way yet, however.
If we can reinvest in our community centers and hacker spaces and make them part of the zeitgeist, we might all be rehumanize a bit.
Focusing on community or hacker spaces is narrow view of one's options. I found mine via attending underground music events, then joining one of the groups and attending festivals with them, which eventually led to strong ties with the burner scene and some of the local artist communities.
I think people are forgetting that to experience these things you need to be present, and do so with some frequency. Open-mindedness and the right vibe will get you far socially. Unfortunately that doesn't really match well with the workoholic atmosphere that many jobs insist on, and so you end up with unfortunate situations like people mistaking their employers for family. I hope that those folks are secure in their employment because it is really easy to be cast out (e.g. laid off) under the guise of, "it's just business". Personally I think feelings of workplace-as-family are just another trap engendered by management to maintain employee retention.
To find like-minded folks to do things you love with, do the things you love.
Problem is most of the things I love involve isolating myself from others and seeking solitude in my own projects. After work and partner, there’s just no more social battery left.
When I tried 4-day-at-office weeks for a few months I literally became chattier with people at the gym, strangers in the park, etc. it was quite extraordinary
What I understood him to say was that his thesis is that culture wars are not about identity and yet this endless conflict is about a lack of identity. So where does identity really fit in there?
The economic and political incentives of inciting "beefing" were spot on. And there is nothing like amping up the inequality of the distribution of wealth to put energy into the "beef battery" (if such a thing existed).
You're adding a little bit of beef flavor to your comment with that one. Inequality of wealth is something that is increasing. That's a fact. The causes and effects of it have pros and cons that should be debated. People "amping it up" is an assertion that tastes somewhat of beef - but it can be made about both sides.
The article discusses this effect a bit in that the size of one's army defines the amount of energy that can be thrown into the fight. I would not be surprised if there was a correlation between group sizes of groups that identify as "havenots" and the intensity of their beefing.
That suggests to me a hypothesis that wealth inequality ratios would correlate strongly with the energy of the conflict. There are some famous conflicts, the French Revolution comes to mind, which, as I understand it, were driven by this sort of energy.
If that hypothesis turned out to be true, then it would suggest one course of action to reduce the 'beefyness' of the conversations.
It's not organized per se, but in many cities the queer people all know each other. I live in a big city with a big queer scene, and I can't tell you how many times I show up by myself somewhere only to see 3 or 4 people I already know there. Or find out that the new person I'm dating is besties with another friend. We all have pretty similar politics, but we also never talk politics or current events (that shit is depressing). Conversation is largely about our own lives and relationships, which IMO is how it should be. The focus is on making space for and supporting eachother, not winning an argument.
If you're struggling to break in to the community, just set up a dating profile (Grindr if you're a gay man, OkCupid if you're not) with something along the lines of "baby queer here, I need friends". People will reach out to you because we've all been you. I have found people in the LGBT community to be incredibly caring and willing to invest in people they barely know, simply because they remember what it's like to be alone in the wilderness. Community is how we heal, and intentional family built one relationship at a time is stronger than relying on circumstances to provide you with social ties.
Much love, get out there and get involved, let yourself be vulnerable, and you will find your people <3
If (big if) that’s true, then San Fran would be at the extreme in terms of having a queer community so large it can ‘afford’ to ruthlessly exclude as you experienced.
Likewise with diminishing religious groups becoming more tolerant and welcoming.
Then again, some of the teeniest subcultures are notorious for elitism, maybe it’s a bell curve.
>in many cities the queer people all know each other
is massively untrue based on my own anecdatum. Where I'm from, there is certainly a group who all know each other, who hang out at the gay bars, and who seem to have dated many others in the same group at some point. I have seen this by snooping on instagram or facebook - the same set of faces shows up at any gay event, and they do all seem to know each other.
I assume you're in that kind of community in your city. I'm glad for you. I'm certainly not within my city, although I've had "encounters" with people in that group. Given the significant percentage (3.5% according to google) of LGBT people in the population, I have to believe the vast majority of LGBT people are on the outside of any such group you're describing. Our social life is probably drawn from much more average sources (work, college friends, possibly church) than what you describe.
I remember it fondly from being a child even though I no longer believe in it.
Given where we are in GLBT acceptance, it seems like, if anything, this was one of the slowest-changing social norms of all, and one that more than a few generations were pushing for before the ones that are currently here.
For civil rights: we had slavery since the arrival in 1619 (which is the date I hear); we get the emancipation proclamation in 1863 ending slavery; but there are still Jim Crow laws until the civil rights and voting rights acts in 1964 and 1965.
To me that makes the road to LGBT acceptance sound extremely rapid, but someone with more awareness of historical trends in the US should put these into context. In particular when might we say various struggles began seriously, or entered the public consciousness.
Beating someone based on sexual orientation was recognized as a hate crime first in 1984 at the state level. 1995 and 1998 were when Clinton banned discriminating against gays at the Federal level via Executive Order.
1996 was when Clinton signed DOMA, which is the reason legislation stopped for so many years. Though lately he's tried to conceal that, it prevented GLB rights from advancing for many years. It was in response to states legalizing same-sex marriage.
1993 was when GLB people were first allowed to serve in the military.
1993 was also when Hawaii found bans on GLB marriage unconstitutional (at the state level).
1992 Colorado passed Amendment 2 which specifically forbade Colorado state, county or municipal governments from recognizing homosexuals as a protected class.
1998 Oregon makes GLB people a protected class, preventing people from discriminating against them on the basis of sexual orientation.
1984's National Gay Task Force v. Board of Education partially gutted a law that allowed schools to fire teachers on the basis of sexuality. (NGTF was founded in 1972.)
1977: GLB allowed to work for the IRS and foreign service, GLB activists for the first time invited to the White House.
1960s-1970s: Gerald Ford, for all of his faults, being the first 1900s President to really be pro-GLB.
1970 featured my favorite Nixon quote: "I can't go that far; that's the year 2000! Negroes [and whites], okay. But that's too far!" By 2000, as you can see, things were not much better.
1950s, 1960s & 1970s saw it come into general awareness; lots of protests, including Stonewall.
1901 saw DC make it harsh again; no felony, but a lot larger a fine, no imprisonment.
1892 basically decriminalized it in DC; you get a fine and you pay bail.
1807 saw Indiana make legislation to lessen the punishment for it (although it was the first to be for both genders); 4 years max, a fine, and a felony.
1801 had Maryland making perhaps the laxest law on sodomy ever: <7 years of punishment, the act of cleaning one's town, no imprisonment.
Jefferson failed in 1779 to liberalize his state's punishment for sodomy, but that's probably the first act of legislation trying to go easier on homosexuals. Virginia later passed (I think before 1800) a law that limited the punishment to 10 years.
George Washington brought in a general who was being persecuted in Germany for being homosexual shortly after we won the Revolutionary War, he was never punished, got pension, etc.
The 1993 ruling in Baehr v. Lewin simply remanded the case to a different count; it did not "find bans on GLB marriage unconstitutional". In fact, by the time the final ruling happened (as Baehr v. Miike), the Hawaii constitution had been amended anyway.
That's my only quibble with your list, other than Bill Clinton also signed Don't Ask Don't Tell.
Median age at marriage has increased from 23 to 29 for men in my parents’ lifetime: https://images.app.goo.gl/A3SinK2HNqjM9s139
Also, it’s probably not accurate to say that America is one of the last western countries to accept LGBT people. Same sex marriage was legalized nationally around the same time in the US as in Germany and the UK. A number of western countries still don’t allow it, including Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Poland.
East Germany stopped prosecuting against GLB in 1957, and homosexual activity was officially decriminalized in 1968. 1980s Berlin literally had state-owned (again, East German) locations that were explicitly for GLB activity.
Took a bit longer for West Germany, but acceptance happened in the 1980s and in 1990 West Germany allowed GLB to join the military.
Same-sex couples have had (most of) the same legal rights as married couples since 2001 in the combined nation, I'm pretty sure, though I could be off a year. They were also allowed to adopt pre-2010, but I can't remember when.
Acceptance isn't just marriage.
Well change in support/recognition of transgender issues has been very rapid over the past 5-10 years.
"More than six in ten (62%) Americans say they have become more supportive toward transgender rights compared to their views five years ago."
You're mentioning a specific example, but really think about it. In the span of three, maybe four generations, society has changed abruptly. The invention of trains and cars, the remaking of cities and countries, the internet. Before the industrial revolution, generations of families could live and die in the same place, following the same customs and traditions.
Nowadays, we, influenced by the internet in part, can barely imagine a future because the situation looks so unstable. We don't have the comfort of knowing what even the next decade is going to look like.
That book really made me think pretty hard about this stuff. It's also a short 180 pages.
That's how I see it as well. I find all those "organized" attempts fake (and commercialized ones even more so). I include anything, from AAA meetings, to "meditation" schools in 21st century West countries (where you go do your Zen study, and then go on to your otherwise unaltered 21st century life in late capitalism), to the meetups you've mentioned, and so on.
They can't replace organically grown over the decades (or millennia) traditional institutions and mechanisms, the same way canned laugher can't replace actual audience laughter. They're like a 3D printed sculpture of an animal compared to an actual animal, warts and all.
That's not to say the old organic versions are not damaged and unable to sustain themselves.
* The number of religious "Nones" - people identifying themselves with no religion - was right around 1% through the 1950s. In the 1970s it increased from 3-7%, and stayed below 10% through the end of the century. It's now over 20%. In the 1950's, ~70% of people were Protestant Christians. Now it's half that amount.
* In the year 2000, 12% of Americans reported that religion was "not very important" in their lives. Now it's double that amount.
* In the year 2000, 13% of Americans reported that they "never" attend religious services. Now 29% never attend.
For that matter, I know a handful of people (my grandparents age) who aren't really religious but that go to church most weeks 'cause it's a nice social thing.
>“We are not beefing endlessly because we do not desire peace or because we do not know how to engineer peace. We are beefing because we no longer know who we are, each of us individually, and collectively as a species.”
is the important part of the piece for me, and I'm happy to see you and others singling it out. I really relate to what Rao is saying here. It's a sensation not unlike boredom. Like we're all waiting for something, anything to happen.
A weird example: In 2016, I flew home to PA from Boston specifically to vote against Trump in a place that mattered. I stayed with my parents for the night, and when I came back from the voting booths, the TV was on and it suddenly became clear that the unthinkable was happening - Trump was winning. I vividly remember the sensation that came over me wasn't disappointment. It was excited anticipation, like the way you feel right before you leave for a big vacation. It was like "ok, here's something actually _happening_ that I'm a part of." It's kind of fucked up, but that emotion that washed over me felt "truer" than any principled argument that this guy could do real damage, etc. It felt like suddenly I was living -in- history, rather than beside it.
I’ve noticed this trait in myself, beginning with hurricane Katrina. Half the world away, I immersed myself in New Orleans local live news streams, radio, webcams, blogs and forum threads from on-the-ground folks. I had a period of about three days solid obsessively scanning for new information.
There have been several other events that I responded to in similar ways, including the last US election and that airliner that got shot down over Ukraine a few years back.
The guilty enthusiasm you mention was present each time. The event is almost always something disastrous, yet the ‘rush’ to dig for information and get a sense that you’re witnessing unfolding major events is compelling.
I once got drunk with a German friend and, lacking all tact, lamented that the world hadn’t been very exciting since the end of WW2 and that it felt like we were overdue for something similar. I don’t think the point I intended to express was the one that registered with him, understandably.
Do you do the thing where worrying global stuff unfolding (e.g. North Korea’s periodic Sabre rattling) triggers you into obsessing about prepper SHTF stuff for a while? I feel like there’s a connection between the behaviours, but my sample size is only 1 currently.
Voting residency requirements are weird because they differ from state to state, and can be very vague when it comes to maintaining residency. As far as I can tell, Pennsylvania's 30-day residence requirement only applies when registering to vote; as long as you maintain a voting residence in Pennsylvania, you can vote in subsequent elections as you do not need to register again between elections. According to Article VII of Pennsylvania's election code (qualifications of electors), however, you lose your residence if you move to another state AND do not intend to return to Pennsylvania OR you move to another state AND intend to make it your permanent residence. So it depends on the parent poster's intentions of whether they view MA as their permanent residence or they don't plan to return to PA.
Please don’t that, it’s bad faith and needlessly divisive.
Are you a contractor, and for how long? Again, you probably don't automatically change residency until you pass some magic number of days.
Many of the state laws are often a bit vague about the corner cases like students or contractors. The general principle seems to be "As long as you only vote once, in one place, you probably are within the bounds of most laws.
As always, YMMV, IANAL, etc.
Really, nothing is as important as being with friends and family.
> You can only predict it by trying to understand it as the deliberate perpetuation of a culture of conflict by those with an interest in keeping it alive.
ie, the warriors are playing an infinite game that they enjoy. You can't win by out-arguing them. The only way to win is not to play.
Joshua: "A strange game. The only winning move is not to play"
I tried to engage in some Reddit discussions regarding politics in my country, and as soon as you don't follow the general sentiment, you get downvoted and eventually banned. Even if you're absolutely sincere and have good arguments as to why you think like this, you'll just get labelled a troll for disagreeing with something.
While it's very frustrating, it's also truly scary, they just end up creating their own echo chambers, only allowing people who agree with them to post or comment. Eventually this moves on to the real world where they'll assume everyone has the same opinion because they've been living in an echo chamber.
I run several discords and forums and I allow a certain amount of hazing to go on. This has a positive effect in some ways obviously has some negatives.
It filters out at lot of "normies". I don't want people who are easily offended on my forum, if you want a mod to protect you, you can go elsewhere. It also immediately filters out the morality police instantly.
It can be quite frustrating when you make an observation about someone's comment only to have them automatically assume you were in disagreement. It's good to assume a generous interpretation. Since tone is so hard to gauge on the Internet, discussions quickly devolve otherwise.
Why is "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" so hard in practice? Why do I just NEED to throw in my 2 cents?!
Because pleasantness isn't a virtue in every context? Some unpleasant things need to be done and said sometimes. In fact, saying no in certain contexts is good, though it can often be unpleasant.
That being said, some people find it pleasant to be unpleasant. Certainly self-censor if you sense that urge arising. Getting drunk on anger or righteousness isn't a good look.
EDIT: FUCK! 20 minutes and I've already failed.
EDIT EDIT: Does anyone have any strategies to cope with this? I generally make sure to log out of HN (and have deleted Reddit/Twitter/Facebook etc), and my passwords are always random key-mashing that I forget so that commenting is pain... but still, if "someone is wrong on the internet" - even if it's low (or zero!) stakes... I'm compelled to type some crap back. Logically I know I shouldn't give a shit - but I do. I'm a mook! Is there an escape?!
YMMV, of course, though I found the first couple of experiences of feeling like "wow, what kind of ape would draft a comment like that?" when I go for the reread were enough to emotionally incentivize me to trade time for not feeling like a big rube down the line.
If that won't help because you can't resist the temptation to log in, I guess you could try "banning" yourself using the noprocrast setting in the HN profile?
There are teachers out there giving kids deserved bad grades on a regular basis. Hospital workers change bedpans. Veterinarians have to euthanize family pets.
Do you want more examples?
But, yeah, sometimes the adults in the room have to correct a misconception or ask the trolls to leave.
For tips? Consider others as more important than yourself, even when you need to do something unpleasant. You'll find that teachers, hospital staff, and vets all find ways to do that when "nice" isn't possible.
"Be liberal in what you accept, and conservative in what you expect others to accept."
Maybe human communications also has to adhere to basic principles to guarantee robustness.
Most of the beef-related discussions around here involve either Tesla, Apple vs Google (when it comes to their phones/mobile OSs), FAANGs vs the rest of the world, some futuristic AI fields (like self-driving cars) and I think that's about it. There used to be a beef between supporters of static-typing vs dynamic-typing (I personally was in the latter group), but the static-typing supporters mostly won that debate.
Other than that most of the topics on this website are pretty civilised (with a few exceptions that confirm the rule).
For whatever reason, our elites and media are convinced Twitter is very important. Nothing is worse than getting criticized by the peanut gallery. Twitter can end careers, cancel television shows, bring down elected officials.
That power quickly turned from, "complain about lost baggage on Twitter and get an airline ticket voucher for $50" to "I demand anyone I disagree with be exiled to Elba."
The truth is Twitter already doesn't matter, like, at all to almost everyone. Ask your aunt or brother-in-law about what's trending on Twitter and you'll get a blank stare. But journalists and elites continue to be terrified of, and enthralled by Twitter. They've collectively forgotten that "sticks and stones may break my bones..."
I kind of can't get over that this is free and such a high percentage of the people I want to know about are on it, and I worry that it is a temporary situation before everyone gets so afraid of possible negative consequences that they stop sharing. I think it is an added bonus that important people get used to dealing with criticism, as that leads to freer society.
It's up to you to pick the right people to listen to and not get engaged in foolish flame wars. The information I've gleaned from the conversations I've seen and participated in on Twitter over the last two years have saved me a decade or two of my own personal work.
I have a strict policy of only following people with a high signal to noise ratio (with a few exceptions). I follow only a few friends (and they don't tweet anyway). I unfollow anyone who tweets too much. I use the "don't show retweets" option for anyone who retweets random crap. I also use the "muted words" feature to get rid of political tweets. I myself only tweet things I would want to read 5 years from now.
If there was an easy way, I would write additional filters per person to mute their annoying pet peeves.
My nomination for highest signal to noise ratio is https://twitter.com/michael_nielsen
But it's also noticeable in many so called examples of cancel culture too, since the whole result of your usual internet backdraft is... nothing much in particular. Everyone I've seen get hammered by negative reactions after saying something controversial online has seen the popularity not change one jot. Logan Paul? Still doing decently. The Nostalgia Critic? Still going strong. The people making these complaints have virtually zero pull as far as actual influence goes, and the angry gnashing of a few hundred/thousand Twitter users is vastly outweighed by a hundred times more people subscribing/following/supporting stars as normal.
For the most part, almost every business is in the same boat. The people on Twitter don't matter. They're not your customers. Most of your real customers don't give a toss what some angry internet 'influencer' thinks or their complaints about your 'offensive' remarks.
When people finally realise that, everything will quiet down and sanity will return.
Twitter doesn't work in an adversarial context.
Except they might have read an article on CNBC or Fox that was based on a twitter thread. That's where it actually makes a difference, when it spills over into other media and picks up steam. See: Twitter Revolutions 
A few years ago I got calls from a friends, who aren't Twitter users, that they saw me on E! and other news outlets because I was getting lit up on Twitter. The Guardian, CNET, DailyDot all picked up the story and ran with it.
So yes, you're right things on Twitter.com by themselves rarely matter. What matters is when they are picked up by other news outlets and gain mainstream momentum.
Exactly (and what I said in my comment). But it goes further. Take the NYT widely regarded as 'the Paper of Record'. What they say has a great amplifier impact. Ditto for shows like 60 Minutes or even the nightly news in some cases. Most people in media (say in small towns or in less than impressive in any way newspapers) very generally think that is what you aspire to to work for - a major media outlet (in other words some small station person in Idaho is envious of the people who work at the networks like some high school football coach is probably envious of NFL coaches, right?).
I think it's ironic that negative takes on the twitter model tend to be as shallow and polarizing as they claim the platform to be. As for me, I think there's some worth to it that could be taken even further if decentralized analogues become widely popular.
I don't believe that this actually happens. Definitely not on twitter anyway.
> I don't believe that this actually happens. Definitely not on twitter anyway.
I believe that the GP has it reversed. I’d rephrase it in the other sense (what I see as reality) as:
“For every enriching conversation happening on Twitter, there are millions of controversial tweets or tweets of drama that occur and would anyway occur.”
I don't know a single person who actually uses twitter regularly. Where as I know loads of people who use reddit/discord/facebook. And yet twitter is where all of the media attention goes.
Discord: You gotta be in the server in the first place. And it's real time. The discussion moves on. Even if anyone had anything interesting to say, it's already gone by the time the news wants to report on it. And they're not on the server anyway.
Facebook: Ugh, old people and essential oils peddlers. Nothing newsworthy happens on Facebook. Just Kevin being racist again.
and then there's twitter: Where most interesting tweets are public, and interacting with a tweet, either insightful or controversial, love it or hate it, just makes it bigger, and more discoverable, inviting more people to pile on or get the boot in, while the media watches on.
> Nothing is worse than getting criticized by the peanut gallery. Twitter can end careers, cancel television shows, bring down elected officials.
Twitter is in a way like a street protest that gets covered on the nightly news. As an example you can have 1000 people (or even less) protesting in NYC (a region with what 20 million people?) and the media will entirely blow the significance out of that protest proportion. Not that there are 19,999,000 people who aren't protesting but that there are 1000 that are.
> Ask your aunt or brother-in-law about what's trending on Twitter and you'll get a blank stare
Exactly true as a general rule.
But better ask anyone what they think is important (and this is the sad part) and they will probably mention something they received from a traditional media source who got what they did from twitter or social media (if not placed by a PR firm etc.)
If you wouldn't say it to a bouquet of microphones, you shouldn't tweet it, either, but a lot of people don't seem to get that.
In any case, Twitter is also a very useful platform for the disenfranchised, including those who complain about corporate practices. You come up with a stilted example of "I demand anyone I disagree with be exiled to Elba" and declare that Twitter doesn't already matter, but you're ignoring the many daily situations when companies and organizations actually do respond to tweets, and make explanation or change behavior?
I'm a multitour veteran of the scarred hellscape where modern and historic ideas struggle - 4chan, TEDx conferences, irc, VC conference rooms, local candidate door-knocking campaigns, reddit, and of course twitter. The brawling is better there than in academic journals and library shelves. Today I proudly do my duty fighting off the bad ideas with the Good Ones.
Jokes aside, this is a horribly lame and out of touch take, saying that people's righteous anger is in fact not because of their legit complaints about society, but because
they just want to argue. It's a both sides false equivalence, equal to PG implying he's better off being an "accidental centrist", whatever the hell that means.
1. everyone starts out like that
2. some realize that and (sometimes having thought of it for a while) make a decision to persist/stop that
3. some years have passed by since, and now you can't get that reaction out of me, only understanding
My hope is this is a brief period of education of everyone to see each others opinions and something better can come of it. As always there are those at work trying to maintain their positions.
For myself I have learnt a lot about the belief systems of other people from the internet. I can only hope others are doing the same, we all have to get along.
Edit: I think of it as the great flattening, to coin a term, previous societies were hierarchical with people in charge handing down dogma. There were some dissenters - they were called antisocial at one stage. Now everyone is at the same level, I've had conversations on forums with people who invented tech, wrote books I've read, I could if I was so inclined seek out other fields - everything is open now. This is bound to cause some 'beefing'. End of beef.
Some might say that we've become stuck in that outpouring, and enamoured with conflict rather than any kind of coherent vision for how to be.
But mostly what I gauge out there is indeed IoB. The article is so on-point for me that could just as well have written it myself.
I don't engage in this stuff on Twitter. I've overall had fairly positive experiences on Twitter. I continue to try to figure out how to connect positively on Twitter and on the internet generally.
I don't agree that the only antidote is to go seek out walled gardens and the like. The real solution is to be the change you want to see.
Don't go looking for beefs.
Try to bring solutions, not complaints.
Try to have some empathy for people and assume "They must be having a bad day" or "Wow, they must have a lot of baggage on this topic" and politely decline to get into some shitshow with them.
Remember that having empathy for others (instead of just assuming everyone is simply intentionally being an asshole) doesn't mean being a doormat. Respect yourself. Don't kiss their ass to mollify them or something. Instead, just shut up and quit putting out the fire with gasoline.
You can't even post a question on StackOverflow without creating a beef (e.g. "Why would you want to do that?")
But it seems to me that there are some conflicts with deeper roots than IoB culture that have gone on much longer than the internet has existed: whether or not people should be able to be understood as property, whether sacred texts are meant to be understood in the same way as scientific descriptions when it comes to understanding cosmology, to what extent and where institutions like markets, or states, or churches should shape our lives.
Violence has been employed and even full-fledged war has emerged over questions like those, so apparently better avenues for resolution were unavailable.
Does that mean those things were also based in beef-first thinking? If so, was everyone on each side of those conflicts equally guilty of beef-first thinking, and that's how war happened?
If it's just two (or n-many) sides caught in an asymmetric struggle where they both want some sort of resolution and neither one has the resources to get there, then I see that as a stalemate.
Most wars to me don't seem to be beef-first because they resolve eventually. Even when they go on for a while, it's usually because one or more faction/s isn't able to end it and the other/s aren't okay with the costs of ending it. If a war could be ended at a reasonable cost to someone, and they decide they would rather have it continue indefinitely, then that's closer to beef-first thinking.
Conflict itself is not the signal of beef-first culture. Pitchforks aren't either, nor being able to pick out Mooks and Knights. All of those things can be done in the service of values.
Beef-first thinking involves personal/tribal status as first above all other values, perhaps even practically driving out all other values.
And personal/tribal status aren't really inherent values, they really only exist in contrast to some Other. Which means they're inherently tied to actively sustaining conflict.
The crash-only approach to feuding online is to stop responding when someone beefs with you. Don't try to mollify, don't flame back, don't explain yourself, just: close the tab, do something else, and reboot Twitter later, in a known-good state.
I'm a bit surprised at the hasty conclusion though:
> The conclusion is inescapable: the IoB will shut down, and give way to something better, only when we know who we want to be — individually and collectively — when the beefing stops, and regenerate into that form. Only that will allow history to be rebooted, and time to be restarted.
The IoB is driven by human nature. It's demise would only lead to beefing in some other arena that we cannot postulate yet...
> We are not beefing endlessly because we do not desire peace or because we do not know how to engineer peace. We are beefing because we no longer know who we are, each of us individually, and collectively as a species. Knight and mook alike are faced with the terrifying possibility that if there is no history in the future, there is nobody in particular to be once the beefing stops.
> And the only way to reboot history is to figure out new beings to be. Because that’s ultimately what beefing is about: a way to avoid being, without allowing time itself to end.
What this era calls for is us to discover new ways of being human. It sounds grandiose, but I think that's where we are.
Let me contrast my own world-view perturbations with what we see attributed to "meeks and knights" in the article:
I remember my internal world-view and thinking and feeling from about the age of 4. I am 36 now.
So most people don't.
I was either raised to understand or had that built-in that I was bread and born into a world that is set up by multiple interested parties, and I had a place in the machine. Or had to build my own processes that mined the value-system and become a part of that machine.
Most people don't. Many think they're special. Many feel entitled.
I did not easily get on with people at first, but did make an effort to understand what Russian is meant to imply, Jew meant to imply, Boy meant to imply; in terms of where my place is and who my enemies are and what I am supposed to think and do about them.
Most people pick that up from their surroundings (not being ADD like me), take it in as a given, and embody it throughout and henceforth. Which is a point that I needed to research to understand.
"Most people" is ME, at one point in time or another. That is, people change, people react before assessing their position, people get represented by something or someone for the purpose of this fight or that fight. I learned that all the human "evil" and the moral good could be teased out of my own life experience, given enough time and argumentative power. Any action or inaction or inattention can reflect on me, put me in that "most people" category for a moment.
That makes me an individual, and a part of a larger humanity.
But no associations exist in-between. No shared interest that persists. No values that don't change, no long game that plays out this way or that.
I have no permanent in-group, no close associates with a shared vision, not even some permanent foe group that is always opposed to the way I think or am. And I am starting to think that this is exactly how most people are most of the time now. And that this is a marked change from how even my own parents used to be.
I think I am ill-equipped biologically to handle that kind of thing. The shifting of values, the arbitrariness of goals, the loneliness of most people most of the time.
Mayhap, in this constant endeavour to minister the masses and disperse their attention from focusing on the imperial divide of workers and benefactors that resulted in the world that I find myself in, that resulted in me being how I am; humans have finally hit the ball out of the park? Perhaps the game can not continue. Maybe, we are currently lost, all of us, individually.
The way we used to align and declare ourselves, the shared goals and values, the in-group and the out-group used to be larger categories of things. I think today it all has devolved into very petty squabbling.
I live in the land of Israel (or Palestine if you prefer), and it's pretty quiet, if you ignore the news media ruckus. It used to be much bloodier before my time, I understand.
I'm not sure that it was better the way all that has been resolving itself before. But it sure was less lonely.