Avoiding Ruts

There are a number of ruts that can keep us from using our intelligence to accelerate the next bootstrap. Many of these can be seen by looking back at history and observing the amazing breakthrough of the enlightenment. For a full exploration of these concepts, please read David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World.

As a short summary, static societies can hinder the advancement of knowledge. These societies get mired in sacredness. This sacredness is an enemy that the enlightenment exposed and that we need to shine a giant spotlight on if we hope to move our society on toward supersociety. All of our knowledge is wrong at some level. At best, we have 'best guesses.' But it is good and right for us to seek out better guesses. This is how human knowledge advances. Sacredness takes one form of knowledge, codifies it, and attempts to apply it to all future problems.

We must call out sacredness for the muck and mire that it is. If you spread enough of it around you can grow some amazing and vibrant societies, but ultimately, they are all set on a foundation of decay. Even in our western, and mostly enlightened, religions we are still just plowing this muck into nice looking rows.

Ritual is different than sacredness. Ritual can give a rhythm to life that tie a society together and makes it stronger. But we must avoid sacred ritual. We must observe our rituals and know what they are and what they mean to accomplish. And when our knowledge exposes that our rituals were misguided, we must be open to changing them.

We don't need to stop going to our manure piles on Sundays or dipping our noses in cow patties five times a day, but we do need to acknowledge the reality of the material we have to work with. After engaging in those rituals we need to set them aside and take the world as it really is. We need to recognize the superiority of the body of knowledge that we have amassed since the elders put the old words down on parchment. The world we know and the knowledge we have clearly expose the ancient writers for the hack they were, and it is time to start calling a manure spade a manure spade. We can certainly appreciate their work and mastery of the world they lived in, but taking any kind of advice about the human condition and chief end of man from writers who had no concept of the DNA that drives our body is immediately suspect. It should all be reevaluated in light of current knowledge. This also has the implications that the great writers of today will one day look like fools. We should remember this and stay humble.

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