Almost everything is vibes
Information salience is mostly social, not epistemic
"You've changed not us!" was a supposed jibe levelled at my old Twitter persona that stuck in my mind.
The background was my reneging on the hyper-Remain1 group's desire to prevent Britain from leaving the European Union after losing a referendum on it.
Let's not recapitulate that debate (how undignified it now seems when people can't let it go) beyond the disclaimer that I still think my country chose the wrong answer to the wrong question and that little good will likely to come of it, for ordinary people.2
What's interesting about those four words was that while they appeared to be addressed to '@MikeH_PR' they were really addressed to their own group. And the sentiment was that the group should be aware that the person in question remained in good standing. They were proving this by disengaging with a dissenter.
Back then I just thought it was a real life manifestation of the trope that it's hard to change your mind and more convenient to remove yourself from exposure to contra ideas. Groupthink, echo chambers, epistemic bubbles, whatever. Today I think those are 'second order' phenomenon arising from a more fundamental level affective drive; the urge to conform.
I think that much of what we see in the so-called Culture Wars is less concerned with answering important questions about how best to achieve the most suitable conditions for everyone to thrive and more centred on inter and intra group social capital accumulation and status. Which is the foundation for influence and power.
This is why I sense that it's probably stupid to engage on the factual level with any of it, because really it's all about meaning, vibes and conformity.3
This is why the most zealously liberal social justice activists and the enraptured followers of QAnon actually have much in common. And why I don’t much care for either Charles Koch or George Soros.
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