When the US and USSR came out victorious at the end of WWII, the world recalibrated its respect. That is, many correctly inferred that this win contained info about winner and loser abilities. Observers not only raised their overall estimates of abilities and virtues of the winners and losers, they also tried to guess which features of those parties were responsible for that win, and to change their estimate of the power and value of those features.
This sort of updating has consistently happened throughout history, and appropriately so. The more surprising a win, the more we should recalibrate our respect of the winners and losers. This is like how we closely study celebrities and winners of all sorts, to guess which features to credit for their wins. And we also notice the features in common among the many losers around us, to credit for their failures.
I’ve recently come to estimate that the world population and economy will suffer a several centuries fall, with innovation grinding to a halt, ended by the rise of Amish-like insular fertile subcultures, much like how Christians came to dominate the Roman Empire. And even though this hasn’t actually happened yet, my new estimate pushes me to recalibrate my respect. I not only want to respect such cultures more, I want guess which of their choices and features are most responsible for their coming success, to more respect those choices and features. And to contrast those with the features of others, to be respected less.
As a result, I’ve been watching many documentaries about various insular fertile subcultures, trying to get a feel for what it is that distinguishes them, and which of those distinguishing features we should credit for their successfully achieving persistent high insularity and high fertility. While they may not seem very impressive to my eyes according to my prior intuitive impressiveness scoring system, we all need to figure out how to change our scoring systems to assign them the much higher ratings that their future success deserves.
So far I can see that I haven’t gotten very far; I still have much recalibration to do. I can see a lot of raw emotional energy due to adults being surrounded and respected by so many basically happy children, kids who are themselves happy due to being around so many other kids. I can see a strong communal bond and lack of resentment of communal obligations due to their pretty egalitarian practices and strong communal autonomy; each group of roughly a hundred can do what it wants, but does whatever that is together. Their isolation, limits on tech, and fundamentalist religion clearly serve well to insulate them and to make their basic policies seem beyond question. And just being typically very busy in activities that are clearly valued by associates seems important.
But while I can in the abstract credit such features for their future success, I have yet to really internalize these as amazing impressive jaw-dropping applause-and foot-stomping-approval features, as they seem to deserve. Or to feel proper horror and disgust at the many fertility-resisting features of our larger world. But I can predict that such attitude shifts will in fact happen over the coming centuries. If not among the declining old world, within the rising new one. The world will in fact recalibrate its respect, to fully respect our new winners. And those of us who want to better see the future can start that work now.