Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness – NYTimes.com

18 Mar

Despite what you might have learned in Economics 101, people aren’t always selfish. In politics, they’re more often groupish. When people feel that a group they value — be it racial, religious, regional or ideological — is under attack, they rally to its defense, even at some cost to themselves. We evolved to be tribal, and politics is a competition among coalitions of tribes.

The key to understanding tribal behavior is not money, it’s sacredness. The great trick that humans developed at some point in the last few hundred thousand years is the ability to circle around a tree, rock, ancestor, flag, book or god, and then treat that thing as sacred. People who worship the same idol can trust one another, work as a team and prevail over less cohesive groups. So if you want to understand politics, and especially our divisive culture wars, you must follow the sacredness.

via Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness – NYTimes.com.

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One Response to “Forget the Money, Follow the Sacredness – NYTimes.com”

  1. Charlie Keil March 18, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    I’ve just spent a few hours going through Harper’s, April 2012, that opens with “It’s a Rich Man’s World: How Billionaire Backers Pick America’s Candidates” continues with “The Warrior Class: A Golden Age for the Freelance Soldier” and closes with Anthony Heilbut’s truly amazing version of The Queen of Denial, “Aretha: How She Got Over — Seventy years of Lady Soul”.
    So I was NOT prepared to like Bill’s pointing me to a psychological “follow the sacredness” analysis of American politics, past to present, in the New York Times. I did read it all the way thru, could hear and understand the argument. But after considering Thomas Frank’s “It’s a Rich Man’s World” I’m giving up on trying to change “the system”, “corpstate,” “the duopoly,” “technofascism,” whatever you want to call it, with calculated or modulated prose. NYTimes psych is mostly phoney baloney. I’m with Bateson, America is all entropy. Sacrament is scarce. There is certainly nothing sacred about the “narratives” of denial offered to us by Democrats and Republicans the past century or so. Big money is running and ruining our politics at levels of impenetrable corruption never seen before.

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