Tuesday, 18 November 2014

One size does not fit all

Any individual, society or belief occupies a point on the above scale at any time. That point is never static but the speed of its motion is faster toward the centre. Think of it like a metronome or like trying to balance the end of a pole on one finger: providing minor adjustments are continuously made then a person or society is "well balanced". Within a society, individuals will be positioned in various places on the scale and together they will form a bell-curve. I tried to represent this idea in the diagram by using the tonal gradation. If minor adjustments are not continuously made, however, the drift will continue in the same direction until there is a wild swing, at some point, in the opposite direction.

If an individual is positioned too far toward the mythos end then the society will view them as a psychopath who has little grounding in reality. In the extreme, such people will have no contact with reality at all and will not be able to function in the society. If they are somewhere between the mythos end and the centre, most people will see them as "creatively eccentric":  the "crazy artist", "outsider" or "absent-minded professor" etc. If they are positioned too far toward the logos end, most people will see them as the sociopath or dictator, but if somewhere between the logos end and the centre, they could be a lawmaker or a technologist of some sort ― anything that would require a greater sense of order.

How accurately society perceives people on the edges depends on the position of the society, itself. In a shamanistic society, a person might be seen as having been given a spiritual gift while in an urban society, that same person might be seen as "crazy". each society will have its own way of dealing with such people.

As we cannot see far into the future, we can only accurately predict things fairly close to us in time. So if a society or some aspect of it is too far toward either mythos or logos, its inevitable swing toward its opposite state will come as a surprise: a "black swan event".

If the state of a society is way too far toward one end, its swing to its opposite might never happen because the society might not survive to see it.

Think about these things for a while and ponder the word "utopia", and I will elaborate with examples tomorrow.

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