The individual or the common good continues from The problem of moderation and expanding and dying chains.
Here, abelard examines how many people appear to behave in manners that are against their own best interests, as well as those of society.
Humans have a great inclination to make connections.
Most of these connections do not exist in the real world
Rudyard Kipling fictionalised such connections in his brilliant Just So Stories like How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin.
A great deal of that which inhabits human minds comprises fictional, Just So stories.
I've spent decades studying this stuff. It is damnably complex,
which is why it has interested me. So you're not going to
get a just-so story in a Ladybird book.
the way the world is -
survival is not just about grab, grab, grab
There is no such thing as a group. There are humans, and even evolution can act as if it is in pursuit of survival and other advantages.
The planet can act as a thing (or a 'group')
Individuals appear to have what might be thought to be a malfunction (it seems conflicting to me). For example, a human or a species or even a planet, appears to have a tendency to grab any closely available energy/matter for its own purposes. If this were effective, it would lead any other entity to be without resources.
Thus, entities struggle against each other for resources.
As long as humans are at the mercy of these tendencies they cannot escape from war or famine. Religions have tried to mitigate these effects with arbitrary rules and forms of wise sayings. A useful approach but ....
... to escape the trap it is necessary to understand the fundamental logic and to act with full knowledge of the mechanisms which entrap humans. This amounts to replacing hubris with humility, and exchanging selfishness and megalomania for degrees of altruism - acts of will and conscious choice.
Therefore, survival is not just a matter of power.
free agents - herd animals
Humans act as free agents and as herd animals. They teeter totter between the two. Some are more inclined one way, some the other. Different creatures have different strategies for optimising their
Sometimes the mobs will over-ride the independence of individuals. Sometimes they will not. Sometimes the individuals will act independently for good or bad.
In many people, the sheep tendency rules. This is nurtured, for instance, in socialism and other
Sometimes people learn and advance.
These things are in tension.
The 'sheep' hate independence of mind.
The individualists are uncomfortable with the cloying mob.
Finding balance is a lot of the learning that humans are
'Race science' is bunkum.
It is entirely the product of 'social scientists' who do not
A Groaniad item goes on about Charles Murray, who is of a different
class than the others. He is very careful not to step over
the line regarding 'racism'.
The Groaniad is notorious for its inability to handle anything
smelling of science. Every day it misuses number/statistics
to sell the cult.
There is no evidence that 'IQ' tests measure any mysterious essence
Groups of chimps fight each other. So do groups of humans.
The reasons are obvious -
they want what the others have.
It is easy to look at Socialists as the herders and Conservatists as the
There is an irrationalist project to build 'sociology' on the foundations of Aristotelian logic, following its useful applications in the physical sciences of 'inanimate' objects.
This has led to attempts to categorise societies into insecure groups such as democracies and dictatorships.
Humans, in their 'laziness', or time-saving efforts, look at inchoate realities and attempt to force confused information into categories.
Bob looks at a tree and thinks "that will make a nice table".
Henry VIII dreams of turning it into a battleship.
A squirrel sees the tree as an attractive home-base.
Jim looks forward to the shade it will provide on a hot, summer's afternoon.
Jennifer cursed the tree
for blocking her view from the kitchen window, and tries to pressure Jim into cutting it down.
A myriad of ants and caterpillars live among the leaves, or set about eating them.
The tree just sets about its business of growing taller than its neighbours, as it seeks the sunlight and wishes everyone else
would leave it alone.
There is no such thing as stability.
Everything is changing all the time.
Build a house or a pyramid in the desert and, given time,
they will change.
In among this maelstrom,
life strives to maintain homeostasis and fights against 'death', a struggle that always fails.
Humans have become semi-conscious of the struggle, and often confuse themselves into imaging they can prevail.
The human attempts to weave all the bits of incoming light, sound and data into a coherent and unified story or pattern. They often call that picture their personality, religion, a theory, or ethnicity, as they try to co-ordinate their struggles with allies - labelling these allies their 'nation' or a 'village'or even 'the enemy' - them.
None of these assemblies in individual heads form a clear unity outside those heads.
'Sociology' tries to use these collections as objects in the real world, but they are abstracts and arbitrary. These collections vary from head to head, and within the real heads.
The sociologists and other dreamers have even come to believe that they can invent 'perfect' or desirable (to them) societies. The best that can be hoped for is minimising form in a present context.
These fairly random assemblages gain collective names like Marxism, or Islam, or Democracy.
So we have random assemblies that become adopted in the real world, and others that remain as theories and in books.
The distinction between the fictions becomes muddled and often dangerous.
'Them' is 'the enemy' or competing 'tribe'.
Thus much of strife takes place in a world of the imagination - a world that is thereby turned from confusion and beliefs into real mayhem and war.
Other people's lunacy becomes your reality.
By the will to control of the 'leader', your life is defined by struggle for freedom or by conforming to the sheep fold.
Most leaders are more concerned to cling to their thrones than to encourage education and develop enhancement of lives in that society.
cling to power, the greater the reaction develops. The more insecure they become, the more paranoid they become, until they find they are riding the tiger, too frightened to let go. By then, such a 'leader' is thrashing around like a terrified child, as their society sinks into a bloodbath.
What is to be done?
shooters are losers
Losers seek to bolster their ego by self-serving stories.
They take those stories from the sewers of local myths.
Fifty years ago, they hallucinated themselves as Jesus or Napoleon.
Now they become ethnic warriors - choose sides according to taste.
By such routes they become mad.
Then the Leftist fossil media seek to use them in the culture wars.
In an earlier age, 'Napoleon' would end in a mad house.
Now they are locked in a prison, for a while, and are treated as if they are serious.
What has happened to make people and society re-label lunacy as criminality,
To take a lunatic seriously and punish them in a manner similar to alleged witches?
All views are 'equal', even the self-declared witch.
No person shall be constrained unless 'criminalised.
Instead, a fake legal sentence must be given for a real act driven by madness.
you cannot read another person's mind
All human relationships range from speculative to delusional.
covid-19 and cytokine storm
When a person is infected with covid-19, their immune system goes after covid-19, and goes into overdrive. This is called a cytokine storm.
Then there is a balance to be judged, do you lower the
immune response, or let it continue its attack?
Obviously, that demands very technical judgements. sub text
An auto-immune disease can be a great pain in the arse, a
well known example is MS (multiple sclerosis) and that comes in a variety of levels of seriousness. MS is normally treated
by immune suppression of varying means and degrees
With your immune system suppressed, you are more vulnerable to
opportunistic infections (this is seen with AIDS) some of
those are zoonotic like, for instance, covid!
increasing awareness of the magic number, reporters stll pretty clueless
The magic number is now being widely referred to as 'r zero'.
Be aware that the more people infected, the less remain to be infected....t
That will lower the number available for infection, assuming that those infected will widely become immune.
Of course, dead people are also immune and that is, a limited, vulnerable part of the population.
Thus, the death toll also lowers the real problem along with the magic number.
This is something politicians cannot readily discuss with the widespread snowflakery of society.
Further, distancing lowers the magic number. This is a statistical measure...t
Thus, doubling distances will lower the magic number,
and each increase in distance will tend to lower the magic number with diminishing returns.
This also applies to the mealy-mouthed nonsense concerning face masks.
Of course, their use lowers the magic number,
but we rather want to keep the masks for our wonderful NHS,
or to export to our loving brothers and sisters around the world.
And anyway, the masks need paying for!
I should add that the magic number can be applied to both the
infection rate and separately to the death rate.
There is no current panic over the cold viruses (some of which
are also corona viruses!).
mutation, politics and naked monkey egos
Viruses tend to mutate a lot.
When do we decide it is a new virus or strain of a virus?
There is no useful definition.
A major way we decide is 'does it kill us'.
There are claims that there are strains which are not so annoying,
such as that which reached ANZ (Australia and New Zealand). Or are their hospitals better
We do not know
We do not know. At the core of much that is being published is
that central fact - we do not know.
Some are suggesting some (alleged) strains are more infectious.
We do not know.
We also do not know why one alleged 'strain' spreads faster than
If there are differences, we do not have much of a clue why.
We do not know which changes are relevant and, therefore, which
or whether to target the virus, or why.
But none of this will stop 'news' papers and wanabee 'scientists'
Nor stop politicians telling me that 'they are just following the science'.
Now shutting down the country, now intruding in our privacy,
now touting for an international sociallist paradise.
They are all rather mad!
which one is one?
I believe I should be a billionaire, bungay translation:
'everyone else should be an impoverished slave'.
'Blacks' should just get on with their lives like 'whites',
bungay translation: 'blacks' are victims'.
Have you ever heard of the colour grey? it was invented by 'whites' to embed their privilege.
Stop believing in groups, they exist only in the minds of idiots!
belonging to a herd
People join demonstrations, and sometimes clubs, as a wish to be part of a herd, and not necessarily with much else mental clarity.
sociology - the structure of
analysing belief systems
herds and the individual -
sociology, the ephemeral nature of groups
herds and the individual - sociology, the ephemeral nature of groupsis one of a number of documents analysing dysfunctional social, or group,
behaviour in modern society.
Here, abelard discusses the illusions of society, where humans act as individuals while believing they are part of a wider group, or groups.
"Blessed are the peacemakers"
Are the peacemakers those who force conformity, or those that negotiate?
sociology and generalisations
Sociology is not a science. It is about points of view.
The world is not the way you think about it - the world is what it is.
Points of view are useful, but dangerous if you internalise them.
That is, when they become beliefs.
Universals do not exist in the real world. They exis only inside the heads of individuals.
However, people cope with the real world using their own internalised universals.
They even tend to locate their positions in society in terms of generalisations (universals).
I am a chess player
I am a socialist
I am a brain surgeon
Thus an inclusion in a group - a universal.
Many of these categories divide the person into slices.
I am not just a chess player or a shopaholic, I am both and many more. I remain the same person. I am not any of the slices, or even a compendium of the slices.
Humans also divide themselves up into bits.
Example: This is my hand, this is my liver.
Critically, people also look outward, imposing similar categories on others. Thus others are seen as a group and seen as (become) a collection of slices.
Remember, none of these slices or groups consist of collections of real, functioning people. They are just illusions of slices/groups, created in a person's thoughts.
They are ways of coping or relating to a complex world where individuals strive to manage.
That is, the slices are merely points of view. (See also chance, cause, choice.)
Nobody knows what is in the mind of another.
Humans act optionally as :
members of a hive (working to a common end)
members of a flock (following a group or perceived leader)
These behaviours are not mutually exclusive.
thing is a number
Counting is entirely a matter of choices. You can count herds or flocks, or you can look after the herd or flock yet concentrate on individuals.
Of course, you could also take the individual apart and concentrate on molecules or amino acids.
The herd can be treated as an individual, which is what is done with congregates or universals, as in the religion of socialism or in the family, the beehive or the corporation, with the dictator or the queen bee as the hive mind.
The Catholic Church theology doesn't care whether a state is a democracy or a dictatorship, it cares whether the state respects natural human rights. Rerum novarum.
herds and individuals
You cannot understand how a human being works by cutting them into pieces.
You cannot understand how a human being functions by watching them in a crowd.
You only see how the individual behaves in that context.
More can be seen at boids and science of artificial societies.
The way a person thinks about a problem effects the way they act.
For example, if a person thinks in terms of class divisions, they will think in oppositionist terms, such as "the class war".
They will tend to attack their imagined superiors or inferiors.
If they think in terms of one society, they will think in terms of resolving problems between people, or for the group.
Thus the following question matters.
Swarms behave with more individuality and organisation.
An army or a crowd may become a herd, particularly when panicking.
However, a bee swarm does not behave quite like this.
swarms and beehives
There, a few hundred scouts make exploratory flights to find a suitable new home. When such a place is found they return to tell the main swarm where to move to by a form of counting consensus. 
Bees have allocated roles, working co-operatively to help build, increase, maintain and defend the hive.
Likewise, human teams work by division of labour.
What is the difference between...
...sorting out solutions that suit all the family,
resolving conflicts of interest?
Framing matters. ('Framing' meaning the way a problem is described).
If you frame the judiciary or parliamentary system as adversarial, for good or for evil, you will not arrive at sane outcomes.
However, if you look at a problem in more than one way, you are likely to end up with more options.
This is no idle question. It has been at the heart of the disputes about methods of governance,
and it figures strongly in modern psychobabble.
Framings are political attempts at imposing semantics and points of view.
Watch how the unaware respond, that is how others respond to the semantics/framings.
The psychological state of persons change
according the semantics used. For instance, introducing the word 'conflict' tends to encourage a person
to assume there must be a 'conflict', whereas maybe there are
easily available, mutually content 'solutions'.
Even the term 'solutions' suggests puzzles. If all in a group love ice-cream made from cow ooze, there is no real problem. If both want to play with a toy (or a gun) at the same time, there
may be a 'conflict' or 'a puzzle' - or a zero sum game. 
Leftist dictatorships try to impose a frame such that everyone
really agrees with the Führer's 'vision'.
'Dictatorship' tries to sweep difficulties under the carpet, and
dissent is regarded as 'false consciousness' or 'treason'.
Distraction and fear serves the purposes of dictators, oligarchs and despots.
Dictators act as if there is no problem, that everyone acts and feels the same, as the dictatorship dictates. A dictator expects the people concerned to act as a herd, following his/her orders.
Alternatively, socialism tries to rule by setting up false dichotomies such as between capitalists and 'workers' (zero sum).
The nation (a herd) has only one interest or purpose, and the
dictator is the perfect expression of that will.
(Similar processes can be seen in corporations and families.)
Dissent is treason.
Much of UK democracy is built on conflict resolution, that is pragmatism,
and on 'adversarial' legal and parliamentary processes, whereas the French legal system tends to be 'investigatory'
(to find a resolution of a 'problem').
Thus the framing tends to predispose the political approaches,
whereas there may well be no, or very little, reality difference
between the events being discussed or resolved. Also, there may be no happy resolution for all in a group of actors.
nation and religion
There is a very great disjoint between what most humans say and what they do.
Most humans are conditioned from very young to parrot
phrases which accord with the preferred views of the society in which they are brought up.
Most humans never escape into thinking about the formulations they have internalised.
Most think they believe, or believe they think the formulations. That is, they do not attend to the real world.
Those believing they 'belong' to a given nation or religion have captive minds.
Others are ignorant, or unenlightened, or unlucky, or brainwashed.
Countries and religions are in competition and enter wars.
Those who breed less will be replaced by those who who breed more.
Groups try to out breed each other (with mothers' medals, or edicts to increase and multiply).
Chimpanzees do likewise, including waging war (see Jane Goodall).
All this is very good for evolution, but it can be pestiferous to man.
All governments behave in this way - dictatorships more so. The Jews of the Soviet Union is a good survey of this behaviour and the multiple pressures put upon the citizen as the high priests of socialism tried to expunge all competing religions and languages.
An unformed child, raised in National Socialist Germany, is likely to grow up to be a National Socialist, while the child brought up in Utah may well become a convinced Mormon.
Societies tend to tell their children, and each other, that nobody but an idiot could possibly think in any other way.
Universals are the underpinning of mental laziness and incompetence.
The beliefs of other people, however irrational, are the reality in which citizens live, even, should they understand that some or many of the group beliefs are nonsense.
It has often been very dangerous to dissent.
A uniform society reduces ethnic quarrelling - it also removes options for the individual. That removes, or lessens, creativity from society, making that society less flexible.
Cutting down the tall poppies
Periander was, to begin with, milder than his father, but after he had held converse by messenger with Thrasybulus the tyrant of Miletus, he became much more bloodthirsty than Cypselus [his father].
He had sent a herald to Thrasybulus and inquired in what way he would best and most safely govern his city. Thrasybulus led the man who had come from Periander outside the town, and entered into a sown field. As he walked through the corn, continually asking why the messenger had come to him from Corinth, he kept cutting off all the tallest ears of wheat which he could see, and throwing them away, until he had destroyed the best and richest part of the crop.
Then, after passing through the place and speaking no word of counsel, he sent the herald away. When the herald returned to Corinth, Periander desired to hear what counsel he brought, but the man said that Thrasybulus had given him none. The herald added that it was a strange man to whom he had been sent, a madman and a destroyer of his own possessions, telling Periander what he had seen Thrasybulus do.
Periander, however, understood what had been done, and perceived that Thrasybulus had counselled him to slay those of his townsmen who were outstanding in influence or ability; with that he began to deal with his citizens in an evil manner. Whatever act of slaughter or banishment Cypselus had left undone, that Periander brought to accomplishment.
[Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge. Harvard University Press. 1920. The Histories, Book 5, 92-f]
It is much harder to remove a tyrant than stop him gaining power.
John Philpot Curran [Irish lawyer and statesman, 1750-1817]
The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal
vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the
of his crime and the punishment of his guilt.".
[Speech upon the Right of Election for Lord Mayor of Dublin, 1790]
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time
to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is
its natural manure.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
[Reply to the Governor, Pennsylvania Assembly, 11 Nov. 1755]
The objectives of the tyrant have little correspondence to the interests of the able citizen.
Society advances by technology developed by individuals.
Aristotle We make war that we may live in peace.
Vegetius If you want peace, prepare for war.
Ethics and high social standards are a luxury of wealth. Poor societies often end up with dictators and other forms of banditry.
Humans seek status in order to breed disproportionately. Thus they buy trinkets like cars and tall hats.
The individual makes choices in the maelstrom, or they blow with the winds.
addendum 1 - a dismissal of unsound reasoning in sociology
This addendum is not part of the main argument. In fact, this addendum is a dismissal of unsound reasoning that permeates writings on the so-called science of sociology.
Unfortunately, currently this false reasoning is so widespread that it is necessary to insert this addendum in order to illuminate irrational thinking at the heart of writings about 'sociology'.
This problem is that the collective has effects, despite it is based on unsound/delusional logic.
There is the choice to co-operate, and there is the coercion to 'co-operate'.
A collective has no personality or volition. An individual does have that potential.
That is - coercive policies can be changed by human actions (will); so can prices and markets.
External physical realities like gravity cannot be changed by human will.
'Society' has room for real and rapid change and flexibility.
That is not the case with gravity.
Treating both areas with similar methods leads to beliefs that "the poor are always with us", and long 'discussions' comparing 'groups' as if those groups were fixed.
Not only are those 'groups' not fixed, even the definitions of the groups are chosen by sociologists (or whatever), the ephemeral groups claimed or suggested often themselves effect the discussion/s.
For instance, 'dyslexic' (as widely used) is not a genuine category. Thus, people discuss a 'problem' or category that is primarily an illusion in their own head/s - not much different from fairies, astrology, or alien abduction. It becomes a matter of garbage in, garbage out.
Other people's delusions are your reality, even when others are crazy.
Look at a creed like socialism, based as it is on assumptions that are complete nonsense, even counter-factual nonsense. Yet tens of millions have died in the name of socialism.
My 'attack' on 'sociology' is quite fundamental. Sociology presents invented (or 'observed', if you prefer) universals as if they were as fixed as physical facts or constants.
Physical facts do not have the 'same' relationship to human freedoms or acts (or lack of them) as have current local social facts.
addendum 2 - with education comes personality change
Much of 'personality' testing rates introversion/extraversion as the most 'important' source trait (by factor analysis). This is normally followed by 'I.Q.'.
I'm increasingly inclined to believe that a prime division is between realism and escapism, sometimes expressed as tough-minded and tender-minded. This is clearly expressed between the Right and Left in modern politics.
I wonder whether these are not inherent expressions of personality, but are instead learned responses.
I wonder whether what used to be expressed as shyness and extroversion are being changed by cultural absorption and by 'education' into rationalization of preferences through the misuse of intelligence (I.Q.)
The Leftists are no longer shy of their incompetences, but noisily proclaim their alleged 'rights'.
Many personality tests are assembled from a large number of questions, and then factor analysed to see which answers tend to go together (that is, 'traits'). The questions are assembled by people calling themselves or psychologists of one form or another and, of course, these people have their own preconceptions, while even these prejudices change over time.
This typical breakdown for personality factor analysis is taken from The scientific analysis of personality. This book gives a simple and clear introduction. Raymond Cattell also wrote more advanced books on the same subject.
Technical and popular labels for personality factors A to Q4
A zero sum game is a situation where the gain of one party results in a loss to the other party. Most free economic activity results in mutual gains.
central capture of energy
A photo-voltaic farm captures the sun's energy, which is then used to generate electricity.
Coal is stored energy from the sun, captured aeons ago. A windmill captures the wind's energy; and a nuclear power station captures energy produced as a result of the controlled nuclear reaction. Again, this energy is
is used to generate electricity. Our food is manufactured by plants and animals capturing energy.
The more energy humans control, the larger the population that can be supported.