Monday, 21 November 2016

CULTURIST REPROGRAMMING


This is not just an article. I am asking questions, trying to start discussions, and – grandiosely – launch a policy field. Here is my question: How do we re-program our nation?

Of course, we can use the Left’s technique of taking sound bites out of context, and calling individuals “Hitler.” This works for tarnishing individuals and those associated with them. But, culturists are concerned with defining, guiding and promoting traditional majority culture more broadly. As such, rather than tarnish one man, we culturists must work towards a wider reprogramming of western culture.

I teach in a Christian university in South Korea, yes South! In my university, students are required to go to chapel twice a week. If they don't they cannot get a space in the dormitories and their scholarships are put in jeopardy. In their majors, students perform coordinated Christian dance routines in awesome assemblies. I mention this for entertainment’s sake. But, I also mention it to broaden our imaginations.

Speaking of imagination, the first thing we need to do is realize that rationality is not enough. We know that if you really think Black Lives Matter (BLM), statistically you should confront inner-city black-on-black violence. But, pointing that out has had zero deterrence effect. As with my uni’s dance routines, we must look past rationality.

DARWINIAN CULTURIST PSYCHOLOGY


Herein a Darwinian perspective helps. Fish mark territory with bright colors. Howler monkeys defend territory via howls. Colors and sounds matter. We need to wave flags, have red, white and blue clothes, and use patriotic songs – the national anthem among them – to create loyalty. Anthropologists, ethnologists and sociobiologists of all stripes will tell you ‘us versus them’ is the primal program. Even naming the enemy helps. No them, no us

Void of ideas, content, and morality, BLM
is all about signalling and spectacle.
Evolutionary psychology tells us that emotion is the Darwinian way of controlling our behaviors. When BLM and today’s anti-Trump demonstrators get away with destruction, it feels good. This is key. Jumping up and down, breaking things without consequences and the thrill of not having police stop you is like winning in a video game. It literally pumps you with adrenaline and makes your posture erect.  If violent behavior doesn’t lead to humiliation, it will not stop.

Prisons are ineffective because they do not take cultural psychology into account. People are ‘punished’ and come out proud of the experience. The only real punishment is humiliation.  Even killing is culturally relative. Jihadi’s are proud to die. To make prison effective, those whose behavior we are trying to deter must suffer humiliation in their culture’s eyes. Pride, as in rooting for a winning team, is the positive pole of the emotional controls of man. Causing our culture to see communist, BLM, anti-social folks as losers is the negative pole.

In sum, to push this effort we must have emotional goals. Disgust and anger should result when someone defiles our flag. Pride at hearing our anthem is important.  Indignant rejection should follow cynicism about our narrative. Laughter must, again, come from mocking our enemy’s ways. Sadness must come from defeat. The reasons for said feelings are significant. As Darwinian culturists we must be specific about the emotional reactions at which we’re aiming.

INSTITUTIONAL CULTURISM


Our story is compelling. The Puritans created a mighty nation with morals. John Smith told the starving pilgrims, “he who does not work does not eat.” The Founding Fathers were both brave and ingenious. We fought a war to stop slavery. We must get a generation to take the prosocial side on such stories. To safeguard this reversal we must have a long march through the institutions. But we need more instantaneous results too.

Many national governments have a ‘Ministry of Culture.’ While now perverted, these could be reclaimed. The US could also have one – a Department of Culture. It would coordinate large and small public celebrations of America. Beyond the events, the Feds doling out grants specifically for patriotic artists, would cultivate patriotism in artists.  Publishing conservative art history books would encourage scholarship and embed learned professors for 50 years.

I’m going to go out on a controversial edge here – but we’re brainstorming – and suggest we reconsider reinstituting a form of the loyalty oaths our universities had professors sign upon hiring. Nearly all universities voluntarily receive Federal funds. From a culturist perspective, beyond skills, inculcating culturist patriotism is the big function of schools.  Promoting hatred of the West should again become a cause for dismissal in employment contracts.

Again, rather than taking a rationalist approach, these institutional programs will aim at the subconscious mechanisms that motivate humans. People follow rewards such as money. And, they don’t like to tell themselves that they do. So, they reconcile their thoughts with their actions. We must reward patriotism and pro-social behavior and, subtly  allowing for freedom, as is appropriate in the West – punish anti-social attitudes and behavior.

Darwinian psychology says that public avowals that involve physically synched behavior bond people. This gives Islam an advantage. We need to emulate Korea’s school assemblies and rallies. This might seem anti-intellectual to many. You may recoil at the word ‘programming.’ Yes, publicly the term must be dropped. But, as Darwinian culturists we cannot forget that all tribes have initiation rites and religions. We are born designed to absorb cultures. The opposite of programming is not liberation, it is ceding programming to others. 

Prosocial control mechanisms put to a bad use.
One more note on institutions, the western Church is currently moribund and leftist. Yet, Christianity is a major pillar of the West’s identity. And, I know we live in a secular age. But, the Church's story glues our history together and glorifies us. Going to church, publicly singing together, and doing rituals creates bonding. This will create bonding with the Western story. It also promotes good values. We need to increase church attendance.

THE MEDIUM, MESSAGE AND MAN


I have not been trying to suggest that words and story content do not matter. Quite the opposite. Teaching matters. Ideas have consequences. But, as scientific culturists, we must understand the goal is an emotional response to ideas, not ideas in the abstract – ideas in men, masses of men, in cultures. To this end, we must be familiar with recent findings in sociobiology and literary Darwinism; we must adopt a Darwinian perspective.

Roles also impact thought. Philip Zimbardo’s famous Stanford University prison studies randomly assigned students to either serve as guards or prisoners. The mock prison experiment had to be called off due to the cruelty of the mock guards and the deteriorating condition of the mock inmates. Interestingly, South Korea uses arrested protesters as crowd control police. You might be wondering what the point of going to churches and rallies and singing the anthem is if we don’t believe. Roles often create loyalty, roles often precede belief.

A final example: You can tell a high status chimp by how much animals look at him.  We’re rigged to accept messages from high status folks; cultures thrive by following the winners. But, in our upside down culture, that means youth are biased to take high-status left wing thugs’ and actors’ pronouncements as gospel. Trump and other high status folks, (actors and entertainers), must be at the ceremonies that the Department of culture sponsors.  I would recommend that Trump have long discussions with the nation about our winning history. But, we can’t just go rational. As with the importance of status, culturists must consider the totality of man’s mechanism.


John K. Press, Ph.D., teaches International Relations at a university in South Korea.  He is the author of the book, Culturism: A Word, A Value, Our Future. He is also the author of a biography of the first acknowledged ‘culturist,’ Matthew Arnold. More information can be found at www.culturism.us.  


 

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