[ 9/January/23 Dirk Posted a quote from Umberto Eco “I have come to believe that the whole world is an enigma, a harmless enigma that is made terrible by our own mad attempt to interpret it as though it had an underlying truth.”]
To me it is kind of close.
It seems clear to me that this reality we find ourselves in most probably contains fundamental uncertainties, yet at the normal scales of our perceptions, these systems very closely approximate classical causality (such systems could not maintain their structure unless this were the case).
Add in all the necessary evolutionary hacks to create survivable outputs with the least input of time and materials and energy, and you get what we observe – a strong tendency in human brains to over simplify that which is irreducibly complex and uncertain.
We have strong predispositions (at multiple levels) within our neural networks, and within social systems, to prefer being “right” rather than to admit of uncertainty and the potential for error.
Thus there is a tendency to condemn, and to demonize that which is different, rather than to accept uncertainty and diversity. Some power structures exploit these tendencies and use them to essentially trap individuals within sets of beliefs. Such systems teach that “faith” and “belief” are to be valued, provided only that they are their particular versions – all other versions needing to be exterminated. In some contexts such things propagate well, particularly in contexts where stress exists and can be maintained.
Teaching people about the deep nature of freedom and responsibility requires a lot of time and energy, and demands cooperation at levels that make exploitation difficult (approaching impossible), and are thus targeted by power structures intent on maintaining their own power.
Understanding that real freedom can only exist long term in a fundamentally cooperative environment, is not something that existing power and dogma wants to become commonly understood.
Understanding that individual freedom demands social responsibility is not something that the willfully ignorant want to see or accept.
Both are none the less real, and essential to our long term survival.
I am no fan of socialist control.
I am all for individual freedom. And I acknowledge the evolutionary and strategic realities that freedom without relevant responsibilities necessarily self terminates. So in this sense, there is a level of social cooperation demanded of any agent that wishes to maximise both freedom and the longevity.
A totally free agent (without any constraints), is necessarily destructive – literally a Bull in a china shop.
Exactly where that balance point is, that maximises both freedom and survivability, is extremely context sensitive.
So I am not making the case for any sort of single grand plan. I am clear that life is essentially a form of semi random search through possibility space.
I am explicitly making the case for as much diversity as is reasonably possible (all levels, all domains). And I am also clear, beyond any shadow of remaining reasonable doubt, that such optimisation demands cooperation between all levels and classes of agents.