Many social trends seem to have lasted for centuries. Some of these plausibly result from the high spatial densities, task specialization, and work coordination needed by industry production methods. Other industry-era trends plausibly result from increasing wealth weakening the
An excellent science fiction where ritual is central: https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...
Nice post...so true.
Formal balls and dances -- as described in Jane Austen (eg Pride and Prejudice) and Tolstoy (plenty in War and Peace) -- had some quite rigid rules of behaviour. There was a fixed number of scheduled dances, and each woman had a dance card, and people would book dances with each other by writing them on the card. In some circles in the UK, this still happened as late as the sixties, but it then completely disappeared.
It's a pity, because this system offered a lot of social structure and a place for everyone (everyone who was invited, that is). The host would take care to invite approximately equal numbers of men and women, and it was rude not to dance, so by the pigeonhole principle, everyone got some dances (of course, possibly not with who they wanted). As a man, it was polite to at least ask your hostess to dance... There were conventions about how to dance - you were supposed to know certain steps. People of all ages and generations were present. There were rules about who you should talk to, and who could address whom first. You were supposed to mix and talk with a number of people. Couples were not supposed to stay together for the entire evening.
Why did these occasions disappear? I don't know. All the rules seemed stuffy and boring, and it didn't fit with the 60s 'class free' society.. But we've all been to unstructured parties where people don't know how to mix, nobody knows how to do any dance well, everyone is clumsily negotiating vague social conventions so that nobody knows quite what to do...
Which system was better? I really don't know :)
Well, what is to count as "a lot" or "little"? I think my life is less meaningful that those of Barack Obama, LeBron James, Bill Gates, (fictionally) the hero of a typical novel, and many other figures of whom I am aware. I suspect I am at the median for meaningfulness, well below the average. How about you?
(I was pushed into autobiography only by Robin Hanson's reply.)
By the way, I never claimed to get a lot of meaning in my own life.
Do you really mean to say that you do little "to produce good or avoid bad"?
It's about "the meaning of life" really. Or why you should bother to get out of bed in the morning, rituals help us feel like some things give meaning to our lives. The goal is not to achieve "good" things, the goal is to elicit emotions that enable us to draw a (for humans) satisfactory division between what we find "good" in the first place and what we do not.
In essence it goes like this. "Social cohesion/solidarity is good." Why? "because it makes life more pleasant and longer." Why is that a good thing? "Because of the joie de vivre we get from feeling like pleasant experiences and life itself have meaning (rituals help with that)."
"Where is the meaning in anything?" Are you asking for a definition of the word 'meaning'? How about this: an action is meaningful to the extent that it produces good or avoids bad? Perhaps comfort is a good and discomfort a bad (if comfort is the good and discomfort the bad relevant to ritual), but they seem relatively small potatoes. Perhaps rituals produce social solidarity and avoid social conflict--more important upshots, though, of course, rituals sometimes work contrariwise. And rituals tend to have significant opportunity costs.By the way, I never claimed to get a lot of meaning in my own life.
Where is the meaning in anything? Really, farmer folks got as much or more meaning from their rituals as you ever get from anything.
". . . how lonely and disconnected we modern folks often feel because we lack the rituals that gave deep meaning to so many humans before us." "Deep meaning?" I can see how following lots of rituals would make people feel *comfortable*, but where's the *meaning*?
Think about Party rallies in North Korea, or even China. Your absence or lack of enthusiasm will be noted, comrade, so you'd better participate.
Decreasing wealth tends to be empowering for psychopaths with guns, and some of them like to see people participating in rituals.
I doubt it. as long as some marginal information infrastructure remains (literacy, and a number of skilled professionals to keep technology going, probably to many to draw them only from a tiny aristocracy and even if they were all drawn from an aristocracy ritual would be kept down because the masses would want to emulate the ways of the aristocracy).
If wealth declines in the future people won't just quickly forget about atheistic and individualistic arguments
But the question isn't whether they'll quickly forget but whether they'll do so eventually.
The relation shows hysteresis. Increasing wealth decreases ritual, but whether decreasing wealth causes ritual to increase depends on what happened in the past. Simply put the toothpaste of individuality cannot be put back into the tube. If wealth declines in the future people won't just quickly forget about atheistic and individualistic arguments, rituals will increase but they'll be more voluntary and less plentiful than they would have been if the renaissance, enlightenment and industrial revolution had not happened in between the two points in time with low levels of wealth.
Even if they would view backup copies as "themselves" it's only a matter of time before the backup gets destroyed too (accident or act of violence). Not to mention problems with finite storage space for memories.
The premise that individualism is difficult to express collectively doesn't imply that individualists have no affinity for ritual, for they need not celebrate individualism itself; for example, they might celebrate the market (or some such).
No, I don't think you've explained this libertarian peculiarity that suggests libertarianism appeals to a narrow personality type.
This is at least a weak clue that libertarians favor 'liberty' because of their peculiar temperament.
Ems wouldn't be backed up?
They migh fear death even more than humans because dying takes away more of their life expectancy. Imagine EM life expectancy is 4000 years and then dying in an accident after 40 years, that's 3960 years of life lost, even as a percentage that's higher than any adult human could lose if he died tomorrow.