The increasingly tricky proposition of multiculturalism.

The alley :

trinque: Yeah, what you said about a country being a place where young men know who they are, it’s right on the mark. I considered that particular line for a long while after.
mircea_popescu: And that’s what multiculturalism actually is, for the record. Given that it is SO COMPLICATED to have a cultural superstructure that allows any semblance of passable solution to that, and given that any sort of formal proof of superiority and inferiority ~AMONG THAT SET~, strictly, strictly among that set is so hopeless, you’re way the fuck better off just letting everybody use their own answers than trying to force some sort of homogeneity. Obviously you can’t have “multiculturalism” among things that aren’t even subcultures, let alone cultures in their own right. But go explain to Taleb why he should stop wearing the facial hair style he does. Because why ? Reasons ? He got reasons too.

The second alley :

cazalla: Would you give any weight to studies that show multiculti undermines social trust? (I try to keep in mind these are studies done by gov dept).
mircea_popescu: How do you measure “social trust” ?

cazalla: Muh feels of course
mircea_popescu: Yeah well, here’s the thing : the variable you are likely calling this is a direct inverse of graph connectivity, which means it is being undermined by improved communication. It stands to intuitive reason if you look at it : the more people can talk to more people, the less any individual talk can be trusted, yes ? Once software acquired the ability to be “updated online”, atomic software versions became less trustworthy. Because instead of doing anything right, people just slap it together and “we’ll do an update later”. Technology’s your enemy there, not anything to do with society.

And the oop :

257. Every elevation of the type “man,” has hitherto been the work of an aristocratic society and so it will always be—a society believing in a long scale of gradations of rank and differences of worth among human beings, and requiring slavery in some form or other. Without the PATHOS OF DISTANCE, such as grows out of the incarnated difference of classes, out of the constant out-looking and down-looking of the ruling caste on subordinates and instruments, and out of their equally constant practice of obeying and commanding, of keeping down and keeping at a distance—that other more mysterious pathos could never have arisen, the longing for an ever new widening of distance within the soul itself, the formation of ever higher, rarer, further, more extended, more comprehensive states, in short, just the elevation of the type “man,” the continued “self-surmounting of man,” to use a moral formula in a supermoral sense. To be sure, one must not resign oneself to any humanitarian illusions about the history of the origin of an aristocratic society (that is to say, of the preliminary condition for the elevation of the type “man”): the truth is hard. Let us acknowledge unprejudicedly how every higher civilization hitherto has ORIGINATED! Men with a still natural nature, barbarians in every terrible sense of the word, men of prey, still in possession of unbroken strength of will and desire for power, threw themselves upon weaker, more moral, more peaceful races (perhaps trading or cattle-rearing communities), or upon old mellow civilizations in which the final vital force was flickering out in brilliant fireworks of wit and depravity. At the commencement, the noble caste was always the barbarian caste: their superiority did not consist first of all in their physical, but in their psychical power—they were more COMPLETE men (which at every point also implies the same as “more complete beasts”).

258. Corruption—as the indication that anarchy threatens to break out among the instincts, and that the foundation of the emotions, called “life,” is convulsed—is something radically different according to the organization in which it manifests itself. When, for instance, an aristocracy like that of France at the beginning of the Revolution, flung away its privileges with sublime disgust and sacrificed itself to an excess of its moral sentiments, it was corruption:—it was really only the closing act of the corruption which had existed for centuries, by virtue of which that aristocracy had abdicated step by step its lordly prerogatives and lowered itself to a FUNCTION of royalty (in the end even to its decoration and parade-dress). The essential thing, however, in a good and healthy aristocracy is that it should not regard itself as a function either of the kingship or the commonwealth, but as the SIGNIFICANCE and highest justification thereof—that it should therefore accept with a good conscience the sacrifice of a legion of individuals, who, FOR ITS SAKE, must be suppressed and reduced to imperfect men, to slaves and instruments. Its fundamental belief must be precisely that society is NOT allowed to exist for its own sake, but only as a foundation and scaffolding, by means of which a select class of beings may be able to elevate themselves to their higher duties, and in general to a higher EXISTENCE: like those sun-seeking climbing plants in Java—they are called Sipo Matador,—which encircle an oak so long and so often with their arms, until at last, high above it, but supported by it, they can unfold their tops in the open light, and exhibit their happiness.

259. To refrain mutually from injury, from violence, from exploitation, and put one’s will on a par with that of others: this may result in a certain rough sense in good conduct among individuals when the necessary conditions are given (namely, the actual similarity of the individuals in amount of force and degree of worth, and their co-relation within one organization). As soon, however, as one wished to take this principle more generally, and if possible even as the FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLE OF SOCIETY, it would immediately disclose what it really is—namely, a Will to the DENIAL of life, a principle of dissolution and decay. Here one must think profoundly to the very basis and resist all sentimental weakness: life itself is ESSENTIALLY appropriation, injury, conquest of the strange and weak, suppression, severity, obtrusion of peculiar forms, incorporation, and at the least, putting it mildest, exploitation;—but why should one for ever use precisely these words on which for ages a disparaging purpose has been stamped? Even the organization within which, as was previously supposed, the individuals treat each other as equal—it takes place in every healthy aristocracy—must itself, if it be a living and not a dying organization, do all that towards other bodies, which the individuals within it refrain from doing to each other it will have to be the incarnated Will to Power, it will endeavour to grow, to gain ground, attract to itself and acquire ascendancy—not owing to any morality or immorality, but because it LIVES, and because life IS precisely Will to Power. On no point, however, is the ordinary consciousness of Europeans more unwilling to be corrected than on this matter, people now rave everywhere, even under the guise of science, about coming conditions of society in which “the exploiting character” is to be absent—that sounds to my ears as if they promised to invent a mode of life which should refrain from all organic functions. “Exploitation” does not belong to a depraved, or imperfect and primitive society it belongs to the nature of the living being as a primary organic function, it is a consequence of the intrinsic Will to Power, which is precisely the Will to Life — Granting that as a theory this is a novelty — as a reality it is the FUNDAMENTAL FACT of all history let us be so far honest towards ourselves!

Yes, it’s true, I have a bad habit of comparing times past with those of the present – trying to tease out meanings, patterns, and understandings in current affairs using rusty knives in a time of (rusty) nukes – but I think the point that Nietzsche makes is worthwhile nonethelessi and quite relevant to any discussion of any human society,ii multicultural or otherwise – especially the point that violence is the essential lifeblood of human society in general and of individual human flourishing in particular.iii

Multicultural communitiesiv don’t fundamentally change this human necessity, but what they do do is fracture those city- or nation-wide hierarchies into smaller groups, where each tribe largely sticks to their own, creating their own internal power structures even while they share street space with other tribes.

This is an effect that is at once exacerbated and subtly undermined by technology. On the one hand, technology makes IRL multiculturalism even more challenging – primarily by facilitating travel like never before, expediting the transformation of the Americas into the Africa they’ve so long aimed to join – while on the other hand, technology offers more and more reprieves from the stresses of “THE OTHER”v while also enabling pseudonymous interactions that transcend race and creed.

Yes, you still have to buy groceries and cleaning supplies on a regular basis, which may mean heading out into meatspace now and again, but enhanced connectivity and an increased number of accessible nodes from which to draw your own personal WoT graph can create new and improved trust structures, naturally hierarchical, that are no longer directly dependent on geography.vi If you so choose, you can even bring distant family into the picture, maintaining strong connections with relatives even if they happen live in Berlin or Beijing.vii

It certainly looks like the future will be even more multicultural than the present, but chances are, that’s a good thing.

___ ___ ___

  1. Shocking, I know ! []
  2. Double shock ! ZAP ZAP ! []
  3. Now some post-secondary institutions, particularly those in the People’s Democratic Republic of Jolly Ol’ Blighty, are all too intent on turning your children into mentally mushed midgets who need to eat psychedelic mushrooms just to cope with the moronic monotony of their caged existences masquerading as “life” on campus. This is a crime against the word “education,” even if it’s Sui dynasty style.

    The University College London, for example, now under boycott by gentlemen of ethical and intellectual integrity for the corrupted school’s mistreatment of mild-manned jokester Tim Hunt, banned the Nietzsche Club from convening anywhere on the premises last year because this innocent little discussion group was endangering the safety of the student body with its “right-wing fascism.” Sounds to me like those lazy excuses for an etatist kibbutzniks could use a bit of endangering and a whole lot more God fearing (even if God’s, y’know, dead).

    I say this as my younger brother heads to law school in the UK in the fall. What can I say… bon voyage ! Give those spear-chucking fuckers a good scare ! []

  4. They’re not so much “societies” when they don’t even share the same foods. Some guys are using butter, some olive oil, other still palm oil. How can there possibly be perfect cohesion in such a state ?! []
  5. On the interwebs, there’s always another rabbit hole to jump down. And none deeper than the Bitcoin rabbit hole. And if that fails, don’t worry : all good things ever come out of an ill-equipped kid stuck in a blender. So if your kid doesn’t find an escape from rocks, trees, and the inside of his own locker, he still might end up being the bully’s boss one day. []
  6. Wanna buy some drugs but don’t know a guy ? No problem ! Well, most of the time. []
  7. So you can pick on your little brother no matter where in the world he lives, you cyber-bully, you ! []

5 thoughts on “The increasingly tricky proposition of multiculturalism.

  1. […] no go, you’re relying on two things you really oughtn’t to : the good graces of your multicultural neighbours and the good graces of the police to act as neutral arbiters of justice. Both of these are, of […]

  2. […] you’re in Berlin, Beirut, Brighton, or Baltimore, you’d better start practicing those mental gymnastics exercises because Africa is coming. So wucha gunna do when Africa comes for you […]

  3. […] As someone who enjoys swiss cheese just fine when it comes from cow’s milk, it does make for a tricky cultural proposition, one of debatable, if not entirely refutable, merit and value. […]

  4. […] professional and service sector industries in a crippling bind. There’s nothing like a little multicultural tension to keep the good times rollin’ !!! […]

  5. […] the variously applicable forces of the assorted cultures that necessarily overlap everywhere outside of tribal goatfuckistan, he’d be mentally crippled by the impossibly expensive behaviour, which is precisely why he […]

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