Tribal Epistemology

When you know who people identify with, you generally get a full-spectrum insight into their beliefs for free.

As Fernandez puts it:

… while Western civilization pays lip service to “evidence based” policy, in practice most human beings rely on social proof to decide what to believe. … The search for “social proof” as a determinant of conviction is not wholly crazy. Few of us can say why a pharmaceutical works. But if the doctor prescribes a pill, we drink it without question. Most of the world is preoccupied with making a living and consequently have a high level of rational ignorance. “Rational ignorance occurs when the cost of educating oneself on an issue exceeds the potential benefit that the knowledge would provide.” It takes too long for us to figure things out from first principles, so we find a “smart man” and do what he tells us.

While everybody is compelled to economize in this way to some extent, skepticism — in its many different varieties — offers a measure of practical defense. (One variant is simply the heuristic, inherited by all Protestant clades, if quite commonly left idle by them, of looking things up for yourself.)

“What do you do if the Church has been hijacked by demons?” asked Harold Lee. This is exactly the same concern, raised from another angle, and escalated towards its essence. As trust in the machineries of critical truth production is eroded, in direct proportion to their Cathedralization, the primary tendency is to tribalize ‘knowledge’ (as a signal of belonging), and secondarily to promote a general nihilism, on the ever-more plausible assumption that everything we have ever been told is a lie.

This is how a civilization is burnt to the ground. By selling their souls to the New Church, all epistemologically-relevant social institutions trade authority for mere power, or the capacity to command tribal allegiance and conformity. In response, trustlessness is installed as the foundational principle of realistic socio-political analysis, or informally manifested in a spreading and deepening cynicism. What little exists of counter-knowledge is mostly sheer refusal, or opportunistic deference to the enemy’s enemy. No Antiversity exists. It too is invoked, in the interim, only as a refusal. Its entire meaning, up to this point, is that we don’t any longer believe what we’ve been told.

We remember enough about what Science once was, or what market-honed economic signals were, to know that tribal epistemology is cognitive garbage. As we slide down the slope, increasingly, it’s the garbage heap in which we all live.

July 29, 2015admin 23 Comments »

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23 Responses to this entry

  • Tribal Epistemology | Neoreactive Says:

    […] By admin […]

    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 3:29 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    > we don’t any longer believe what we’ve been told

    Sums up the occult motivations of NRx as well as anything…


    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 5:42 pm Reply | Quote
  • hendoku Says:

    “the primary tendency is to tribalize ‘knowledge’ (as a signal of belonging), and secondarily to promote a general nihilism, on the ever-more plausible assumption that everything we have ever been told is a lie.”

    Was there ever a point at which you could say it wasn’t a lie? Or is it simply that civilizational collapse is coterminus with (or the same thing as) general narrative collapse? Not a movement from truth to untruth but the splintering of a civilizational meta-fiction into competing tribal sub-fictions?


    Mai La Dreapta Reply:

    Did we ever actually know anything? This is the sort of black thought that NRx should embrace. It’s possible, probably even that we were always ignorant, but that only at the point of collapse do we admit that we know nothing, and even then we cling to the hope that it was not always so.


    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 5:54 pm Reply | Quote
  • Kgaard Says:

    This is great. Joseph Heath’s new book, “Enlightenment 2.0” deals with precisely the same problem. The psychological environment absolutely has become more hostile because those who would manipulate it have figured out that humans are not particularly rational. When one industry figures out how to manipulate the masses (say advertising) the formula is quickly adopted by another (say politics). Over time the formula for manipulation keeps being refined and improved.

    It’s interesting you mention tribalism because that’s exactly where Heath takes this. He argues that civilization is a choice — it’s a step-function change from tribalism. We have to repress certain tribal desires in order to be civilized.

    But if being civilized means suffering a constant deluge of manipulation from the authorities who are supposed to be “leading” you, why bother with it? Why not just drop out of the compact and revert to tribalism?

    This is why I find the Pachamama experiment down in Costa Rica so interesting. They’ve DONE it. So we have a case study to examine. This is what hard-core modern-day tribalism looks like (when peopled with medium/high-IQ dropouts from the west). It has pluses and minuses but there’s no question it’s radically different from the “civilization” which prevails now in the west.


    John Hannon Reply:

    Perception of Pachamama’s “pluses and minuses” will depend to a large extent on what one makes of “DJ” Tyohar. Opinions of him expressed on “Gurusfeet” (a sort of “compare-the-guru” comparison site) vary widely, but most relevant to what you say about manipulation, is this –

    Seems that far from offering an escape from manipulation, tribalism enables it to get up-close and personal.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Yup read that a while ago. I don’t doubt it’s all true. I am personally pro-Tyohar simply due to my interactions with him. But yeah if you’re going tribal you’re talking small-scale monarchy and that means loyalty to a chief. At Pachamama, Tyohar is that chief. You’ve gotta like him (and the jungle) or the obvious choice is exit.

    Among other things, Pachamama is a demonstration of just how HARD it is to work up the gumption to create a new civilization and leave everything you’ve known behind. These guys met at Osho’s ashram. They were already hard-core world travelers. What impresses me is that they DID this thing. I see a lot of people bitching (myself included) but I haven’t met anyone else who’s actually done it.


    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 6:50 pm Reply | Quote
  • Tribal Epistemology | Reaction Times Says:

    […] Source: Outside In […]

    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 7:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • Jehu Says:

    There is a prize for the last group to retribalize….
    A Darwin award

    Is it time for the “Dwarves to be for the dwarves”?


    hendoku Reply:

    the dwarves – at least the LOTR ones – would have at minimum controlled choke points in the economy-wide supply of gold, mithril, and presumably coal (if they ever got that far along in industrial development), and so would make a far more effective class for itself than the contemporary working class conceivably could. or it least this is what i imbibed from timothy mitchell’s book.


    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 9:00 pm Reply | Quote
  • Lucian of Samosata Says:

    “Looking things up for yourself” and placing your trust in a smart book rather than a smart man is still closer to social proof than first principles, even if we can’t do without it.


    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 9:12 pm Reply | Quote
  • Erebus Says:

    It is interesting to think about what Antiversity prototype v1.0_Alpha might look like.

    That Antiversity link… It always strikes me how people in the comments section seem to believe that the Antiversity is going to sprout fully-formed from the Earth, as a mirror-University with its own science faculty. I very much doubt that this shall be the case. I’m starting to come to the conclusion that, at least to begin with, it need be nothing more than a curated data haven. That is to say, it should start merely as a repository for documents of value — one which hostile entities cannot touch. Once this haven has collected and organized a reasonable amount of high-value educational and historical documents (somewhere in the thousands), once it has made them publicly available in a convenient format, and once it organizes them in a logical manner which might facilitate self-study, it can then move on, slowly, to fulfilling its true mission as a truth service — which, to begin with, would likely involve a new document publication service like Arxiv, and, more importantly, the offering of various educational services. Possibly also a publishing arm.

    And this outline above, which sounds simple and easy enough, would require significant effort and investment. But it is possible.


    Kgaard Reply:

    I visualize the antiversity as a series of seminars or retreats … a week in some groovy location like Mt. Shasta or Asheville or Bali … meeting every day for 8 hours, interspersed with yoga and holotropic breathwork, for the purpose of hammering through a 300-page powerpoint filled with hatefacts.


    Raymund Eich Reply:

    Kgaard, you should check out Ed Seykota’s website, He’s a multimillionaire commodities trader who combines an apoliteiac anti-left perspective with small-group psychological growth technologies like holotropic breathwork.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Hmmm … innaresting but weird. I’m not sure I see the value in what he’s doing. Seems like a lot of day-trading nonsense. Still I like that he is making the effort. If I were to do something it would be more focused on the 300-page powerpoint and more directly related to neoreaction and red-pill themes. I don’t see immediately how that kind of antiversity work relates directly to stock and bond trading. Actually, if anything, a lot of conspiracy theory stuff will LOSE you money. Most specifically the gold fanatic thing. (Speaking of which, what happened to all the gold bugs on here?)

    Erebus Reply:

    That sounds fascinating. But I don’t know if the people who would be interested in such a thing, and who could afford it, need to be hammered with a Powerpoint presentation full of hatefacts. It might be preferable to adopt a more subtle approach.

    In any case, if the Antiversity is to be a meaningful truth service — something which fearlessly presents the truth, at a time when truth is out of fashion — I think that it needs to be broadly accessible. There are hundreds of important documents that need to be made freely available. There might also be opportunities in sponsoring and publishing research that Universities and government funded organizations are too cowardly to touch. That might be a start.


    Kgaard Reply:

    Yeah it’s just different modes of doing things. I have become a consumer of retreats and seminars in recent years. I find getting the data and experiences in a variety of ways and contexts and with a new group of people creates a sort of geometric increase in the amount I get out of the thing. It’s also nice to GTF off the internet.

    “Hatefacts” was kind of sloppy terminology. That’s not really what I’d want to do. And the powerpoint would be more like 80 pages. But just to give one example, you could do a full day’s discussion on the implications of the chart of sexual market value by age and sex (peaks for women at 22 and men at 35). That’s not so much a hatefact as a sort of esoteric data point obscured under PC dogma.

    Let’s say you had a group of 16 people … You could break them into groups of 2 or 4 for about 20 minutes and discuss their histories and how they made dating/mating decisions — and how they would make them differently armed with the SMV chart.

    Posted on July 29th, 2015 at 9:13 pm Reply | Quote
  • E. Antony Gray (@RiverC) Says:

    Babel’s Return.

    That face which has no name
    It can but speak to explain
    “We reject your social proof”
    It says in the magazine
    When did they speak the truth
    But where the dog has been
    Smells of what it ate
    A fact without a face
    We replace, we replace
    With a multitude, and state
    That a face without a fact
    Suits us well – the tower sways
    Singular though it stays
    Says nonsense to attract
    In no tongue I can learn
    It must be Babel’s Return.


    æonrex Reply:

    “He comes from the mountain, he stands in the grove!
    Our own eyes have seen it: the wine that he wove
    From water, the corpses he wakens.”

    O could you but hear it, at midnight my laugh:
    My hour is striking; come step in my trap;
    Now into my net stream the fishes.

    The masses mass madder, both numbskull and sage;
    They root up the arbours, they trample the grain;
    Make way for the new Resurrected.

    I’ll do for you everything heaven can do.
    A hair-breadth is lacking – your gape too confused
    To sense that your senses are stricken.

    I make it all facile, the rare and the earned;
    Here’s something like gold (I create it from dirt)
    And something like scent, sap, and spices –

    And what the great prophet himself never dared:
    The art without sowing to reap out of air
    The powers still lying fallow.

    The Lord of the Flies is expanding his Reich;
    All treasures, all blessings are swelling his might . . .
    Down, down with the handful who doubt him!

    Cheer louder, you dupes of the ambush of hell;
    What’s left of life-essence, you squander its spells
    And only on doomsday feel paupered.

    You’ll hang out your tongues, but the trough has been drained;
    You’ll panic like cattle whose farm is ablaze . . .
    And dreadful the blast of the trumpet.


    Posted on July 30th, 2015 at 3:39 am Reply | Quote
  • SVErshov Says:

    reverse to tribalism is something impossible. you can immitate it, play some reality games, but still remains who you are and quite scizophrenical by nature. dominant psycho of tribal people is hysterical. transition from tribal to modern characterised by them becoming a liars. once tribal man become a liar, he will never stop and there is no way for him back to rejoin his tribe. he can still leave in same village in same house, but he become a modern by his psycho once and forever. intersting observations on that matter can be found in Karl Jaspers.


    Posted on July 30th, 2015 at 4:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • michael Says:
    a truly insidious thought


    Posted on July 31st, 2015 at 5:12 am Reply | Quote
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