The Jolly Dr Dutton
The mainstream consensus in Western societies today is given by a dialectics between two ideologies of radical autonomy and natural rights. First one – Anglo-Saxon empiricism, known today as Establishment Conservatism. It can be summed up as ‘man shall rule the earth’. Science employed the empirical Baconian method, and thus treated nature like a resource to be exploited. ‘To what end and by whom’ are questions it refused to take seriously. ‘Well, obviously, by us!’ And who is ‘us’? ‘Subjects with rights!’ Aren’t we also part of nature? Don’t we form ecosystems? Can’t we apply empirical methods to predict and control human behaviour just as we do in hard science? Maybe the elites do that, but it is highly frowned upon by everyone. The general lie is that every individual can and should achieve the American [Boomer] Dream.
The second ideology is Progressivism, which keeps all the axioms of the first one, but focuses on radical equality and systemic means of achieving it. Equality among whom? ‘Subjects with rights!’ Those are sacred words, thou shalt not use empiricism to debunk any of them, because they form the best system we’ve ever tried. Everything else is just dead matter, there is no god, we don’t care about any higher ideal except for justice and equity. Progressivism revitalized the interest in human ecosystems only as a necessary means to achieve radical equality – and thus destroy said ecosystems in the end. Elites now camouflage as normies, oppressed and downtrodden, because that is how you out-compete your political enemies under current year rules.
Dr. Edward Dutton causes a glitch in the matrix by applying empirical methods in understanding and predicting human social behaviour, and freely sharing them via crappy YouTube videos. Neo-Darwinism is just one of the methods he relies upon. The truth is you can categorise people through overlaying a mix of biological and social factors and then predict their views and actions quite accurately. The novelty here is that he does not do it to shit on the masses, to decry bigoted perceptions and ask for more thought regulation and control. He thus provides some useful tools in understanding ourselves.
It seems obvious that the post-industrial revolution ascension of public health services severed humanity from the cruel but healthy control of natural selection; a decrease from 40% to 1% child mortality releases all sorts of mutations into the gene pool; and since more than 80% of them affect the brain, it is conceivable they will also affect ideologies and worldviews. Whatever cultural selections might filter those, they CAN now become divorced from evolutionary robustness or thriving. It is conceivable that an ideology can taste sweet and cathartic, while having poisonous consequences. Dr. Dutton is a Nietzschean – he identifies the Good with thriving. Paradoxically, through applying the empirical lens on human societies, he comes to the conclusion that religiousness and patriotism are in fact key ingredients to thriving; that only in periods of economic growth and cultural decadence atheism and spiteful ideologies become fashionable, but they are a sure indicator of impending doom. And say what you will about the goodness, truth and beauty of your cultural memes; if they are not evolutionarily robust, they will be eradicated.
This is why Peterson also claims truth, good and beauty have an evolutionary component to them. However unlike Jordan, Dutton is a radical in that he overstates the importance of the biological component. He made a video in which he denounced Peterson as a messianic figure whose notions of God and Sacred are precisely the memes that were defeated long ago because they were not evolutionarily robust.
Here I part views with dr. Dutton. Going through the history of religions with merely a neo-Darwinian lens is pseudo-scientific. A few thousands of years are way too few to judge the ‘robustness’ of any metaphysical system, especially when they get intermingled with random political allegiances and thus weaponised or degraded through this interference. You might notice that a certain group is more robust than other, and you can certainly tell when religion plays a huge part in this. However, political conflict can often destroy valuable cultural norms and replace them with pernicious ones; or a certain society may seem to thrive now, but have in it certain hidden features which will lead it to collapse a few centuries later. Maybe we are in some Spenglerian late civilisational stage and that which may seem robust in the present will be our undoing.
That is why I think we should judge religious and metaphysical notions based on their own merit first and foremost. To me the Platonic god of the world of ideal forms or even Jung’s archetypal Self, the Transcendent aspect of reality, make more sense than the ethnocentric deity of oriental cultures. Of course the Platonic deity could not have been conceptualised without first emerging from animistic, fertility and solar cults, which were a lot more pragmatic and action-oriented than the gods of philosophers.
We want to act in the world and thrive, not become sickly philosophising servants spending all our days indoors. Therefore, I agree with Dutton that our highest notions of the sacred will share certain aspects with ancient solar cults like Tengriism for instance. The most important thing, though, is that divinity is not manufactured by philosophers, nor by military generals. It manifests itself through hierophanies when it chooses to; all we can do is act forthrightly so we can encounter it, use our philosophic nature to describe it as accurately as we can and then honour it in our earthly lives.