On Ideology: a Revaluation of Values

On Ideology: a Revaluation of Values



it's me I'm I'm back the subject of today's episode ideology it will be word of the day at the Kjus or useful to keep in mind that human beings are terrible at creating functioning systems that merit any sort of complexity with the exception of a handful of gifted thinkers sprinkled throughout history and even then the systems haven't been applied to everything they should have been applied to sight note notice my use of should have in the last sentence without any supporting arguments or evidence this would be known as a wishful thinking fallacy saying that something should be true does not justify it being true in fallacy in case you weren't aware is an argument or a line of reasoning that doesn't properly validate or invalidate a conclusion nor those sounds in the background anyway let's get back on track shall we what I plan to cover in this episode is the growing ideological divide in the US and all the emerging research on the relationship between ideology and the prominence of correlating brain structures then with the help of Foucault and Nietzsche we will examine how ideology influences human relations and power structures and in conclusion I will attempt to posit a solution to open the analysis I came across research conducted by the Pew Research Center titled political polarization in the American public in which they surveyed ten thousand thirteen citizens across the u.s. asking them questions concerning their political affiliation and their attitudes towards various topics ranging from lifestyle choices favored media and their opinions about members of the opposing political party the results were compared to smaller studies conducted by the Pew Research Center dating all the way back to 1994 some things to note before we carry on 10,000 subjects is a fairly reliable sample size however generalizing these data to analyze an national trend comes with obvious discrepancies it is good to note though that the Pew Research Center acknowledges the possibility of sampling error but demonstrated that the margin of sampling error would only be about 1.1 percent with a 95% confidence interval they also state in addition to sampling error one should bear in mind that question of wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls however written through the paper which I encourage you to do as well the results seem fairly safe even if we have to wait for replicate studies before concluding that the results are definitive are you bored yet the City concludes that since 1994 the liberals and conservatives have become more liberal and more conservative respectively leading to increased contention between the two sides not only that but the number of consistently liberal and consistently conservative citizens have increased with the number of people holding mixed views having decreased I didn't get around to analyzing the respective sample sizes and/or survey techniques of the previous year's research but I didn't consider it necessary for the purposes of this video the important information in this study pertaining to this video was showing how divided the public has been since 2014 they conducted another study in 2017 showing that the gap had grown much wider but the sample size was much smaller with only about 5,000 subjects compared to the 10,000 and 2014 according to this study both liberals and conservatives have reported having very little interest in compromise and have reported having very little tolerance to those of the opposing position so the divide between the liberals and conservatives is troubling but it's not the entire picture in the study of the subject surveyed were only asked about their alignment in terms of liberal and conservative both of which are generalized umbrella categories which consists of many subcategories all of which are distinct ideologies in and of themselves with their own goals values and motivations on the left you have the somewhat moderate Neel liberals you have the various shades of democratic capitalist reformers like Rory here you have the Socialists the many forms of Marxist thought the Neel and classical communists you have the scientific demo kradic economies like the resource-based an opensource movements you have the anarchic communists the anarcho-syndicalist s– other forms of social anarchism and the list goes on on the right you have your many shades of moderate conservatives who more or less wants to maintain the capitalist republic like Machiavelli here you have the oligarchs and plutocrats who want to maintain hierarchies you have the alt-right such as the white nationalists and the neo-nazis you have the laissez-faire free market capitalist such as the Randian Objectivists and the libertarians and don't forget about the theocratic religious organizations I'm sure it's likely that I left some groups out but you should get the point by now the public is fragmented now we have to explore why this of troubling you might say these data don't represent anything troubling at all ideological diversity is good for democracy for all intents and purposes it's not really a democracy it's barely even a republic and it's good for democracy because the diversify is ideology increasing the probability that new perhaps better ideas will formulate while also distributing the power amongst the various ideologies in a way that allows for the better ideas to become dominant but not take complete control at that I'd reply it's an astute observation and in some ways it's true but to see what that observation managed to overlook we'd have to analyze how power operates to do so listen by our first guest Michel Foucault I'm going to be sampling from various statements made by Foucault and his book power slash knowledge and for the purposes of not misrepresenting fuko's position I'm going to present the points where we meet and where we diverge considering both the relations of power and ideology let's start on page 93 where he states in the society such as ours but basically any society there are manifold relations of power which permeate characterized and constitute the social body and these relations of power cannot themselves be established consolidated or implemented without production accumulation circulation and functioning of a discourse on page 198 it makes a more concise statement saying in reality power Muse relations a more or less organized hierarchical coordinated cluster of relations we can see how this is true by analyzing how atomically human interactions play out in day to day life and we can see how these small interactions extrapolate upwards and manifest themselves in our culture's our institutions both corporate and state our nations etc etc at the micro level of human interaction the transaction of power can be subtle it can establish itself as being relative to the situation or it can manifest itself as compromise say you're with a group of friends and you're trying to decide what to do each of your friends communicate their desire to do this or that and one friend manages to produce an idea that everyone else agrees with it then follows that they proceed with the agreed-upon activity this has been a transaction of power back and forth between all members of the group until it finally arrested in the hands of the final friend this friends power over this particular situation manifested as group consensus and it was very much contingent to this particular situation meaning that the power after this moment could redistribute itself amongst the members of the group and then perhaps accumulate in another members hands in another circumstance this also displays what Foucault meant by saying these relations of power cannot be established consolidated nor implemented without the production accumulation circulation and functioning of a discourse this much being true I'd have to say that it's not only discourse but communication in general a specific example being body language and we have to keep in mind that power expresses itself in copious ways especially as it extrapolates upwards and characterizes itself in larger associations of human interaction one of the forms in which power expresses itself is in truth and knowledge on page 131 Foucault states truth is a thing of this world it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint and it induces regular effects of power each Society has its regime of truth its general politics of truth that is the types of discourse which is to accept sin makes function as true the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements the means by which each is sanctioned the techniques and procedures accorded to value in the acquisition of truth the status of those who are charged with saying what counts is true 133 he reiterates truth is to be understood as a system of ordered procedures for the production regulation distribution circulation and operation of statements truth is linked in a circular relation with systems of power which produce and sustain it into effects of power which it induces and which extended a regime of truth and so far as it pertains to these passages I couldn't agree more but upon further analysis I couldn't help but notice a particular discrepancy between our views on page 102 Foucault writes power when it is exercised through these subtle mechanisms cannot but evolve organize and put into circulation and knowledge or rather apparatuses of knowledge which are not ideological constructs from fucose point of view ideology doesn't fit his conceptual framework of power or at least not well considering that also on page 102 he admits that it's possible that the major mechanisms of power have been accompanied by ideological productions further along in the book Foucault explains his reasons for not including ideology as an integral organizational force in the mechanisms of power but it still doesn't make sense to me because ideology functions in the same way that is relations of power functions the only conclusion I can derive from this discrepancy is that Foucault and I are operating from different definitions of ideology the definition of ideology that I am operating from is that of a system of ideas or ideals pertaining to any system of belief or knowledge be that economics politics science philosophy or religion cultures subcultures political parties sometimes even nations are brought together by shared ideology ideological systems both facilitate knowledge and what people believe to be true as well as human relations by means of infiltrating and individuals identity in fact I find these things to be inseparable and if you recall the previous passages I quoted the co-founder our to be inseparable from human relations so it would logically follow that ideology and power are intrinsically tied the same follows if you incorporate Foucault is a search in that truth and power arced so let's reiterate we have wheat power relations when interacting with other individuals we form identities consisting of certain values and beliefs to help facilitate human relations these values permeate and influence other individuals if the values resonate with them as the group grows larger and the system's become codified ideology manifests this ideology now has the means to compete with other ideologies depending on the power of the group identity the power of the group voice and the power of the group size this ideology can become the dominant ideology of that closer the dominant ideology chooses what direction the society it's in goes however the associative power that ideology embodies is mainly that of sheer numbers there is another form of power that plays a significant role that of economic power economic power has been a prevailing form of power and pretty much any previous civilization with the system of exchanging currency but many of those civilizations there's been a form of power that superseded that of economic power or should I say emphasized over that of economic power you wouldn't ever find a poor King but generally the throne was kept in the family buying your way to the throne wasn't a commonality economic power and today's capitalist society has taken precedence over many of the other forms of power that I've been talking about for example let's say we have ideological group a an ideological group B now let's assume that each of these groups are relatively equal in power in terms of solidarity and size if we inject capital into Group A regardless of not having changed in terms of solidarity in size it will invariably be more powerful than Group E let's explore how this works by analyzing how currency affects the power of an individual when an individual accumulates currency they are then allowed the power and the agency to purchase what it is that they like according to the limits of the amount of currency that they possess when they don't have access to that currency they are then robbed of that power and agency let's say that the individual accumulates enough currency to be able to afford property they can now claim ownership over this property and it is subject to their will and their will alone if they have enough currency to start a business they can then hire employees and these employees are dependent on the individual additionally being subject to that individuals will these properties of economic power are of course amplified by further growth and accumulation of capital at some point the individual will be able to afford objects that are representative of status they will at some point have influence over others by means of survivorship bias which is a type of bias where people conflate success with competence which is logically incorrect due to the fact that there exists examples of incompetent successful people incompetent unsuccessful people competence and success are not contingent although having the admiration of others will add to and reinforce the power that the individual already has it is not necessary their success will usually contribute to an identity shared by others who also possess this level or perhaps more of economic power the group's shared wealth makes them exceptionally influential especially in the field of politics where lobbying and bribing government officials gives their voice prevalence over the majority of others this consequence I will say is a necessary consequence of economic power it is not however a necessary consequence of everyone who accumulates wealth what I'm saying is that it is a certainty that a group of wealthy individuals will leverage their power against others but it is not a certainty that every wealthy person will leverage their power or let alone share the same ideology our group identity as the other wealthy individuals I mentioned previously in conclusion this power in conjunction with the power of shared ideology would make Group a exceedingly more powerful than Group B the consequence being that Group A would be the dominant ideology and it would have control over the given Society now the question is how we relate this to the observation made considering the political polarization in the u.s. the observation that I made was that the American public is fragmented I implied that this wasn't a desirable outcome but I did acknowledge that ideological diversity was typically good for a democracy why the distinction the distinction is because of economic power when you incorporate economic power into the equation that throws off the equilibrium and then subverts the democratic process in order to correct the unequal distribution of power you need an effective balance as things are currently the diverse and fragmented field of ideological systems has dispersed power thinly across the spectrum and the public is not unified enough to compete with those who have the economic power the consequence being that those with economic power have control over society and this results in the republican democratic processes being compromised at this point I would probably examine what nietzsche has to say about the relations of power but given that fuko's theory is pretty much derived from Nietzsche's and given that me – more or less attributes everything – the relations of power or will to power as Nietzsche puts it I don't think it'll be necessary I will leave you with some excerpts for the sake of examples such as on page 266 of his book the will to power he states knowledge works as a tool of power hence it is plain that it increases with every increase of power on page 267 he follows with the measure of the desire for knowledge depends upon the measure to which the will to power grows into species the species grasps a certain amount of reality in order to become master of it in order to press it into service he then makes a connection between valuations which ideologies are comprised of truth and power on page 280 he states truth is the well to be master over the multiplicity of sensations to classify phenomena into definite categories on page 275 he asserts the valuation I believe that this and that is so as the essence of truth and on page 356 he completes the trifecta by insisting what is the objective measure value solely the quantum of enhanced and organized power all valuations are only consequences and narrow perspectives in the service of this one will valuation itself is only this will to power so with all of this aside we now have to make our way to a solution but before we can get to that we must arrive at a deeper understanding through neuroscience the Pew Research study isn't the only one going on concerning ideology there has recently been an explosion in the field of neuroscience on the subject of the physiological differences in brain structure between those that consider themselves liberal and those that consider themselves conservative in a study titled political orientations are correlated with brain structure and young adults can I failed in Firth and race find that quote the amplitude of event-related potentials reflecting neural activity associated with conflict monitoring in the anterior cingulate cortex is greater for liberals compared to conservatives in that quote increased gray matter volume in the right amygdala was significantly associated with conservatism the sample size used for the first study was 90 subjects and the process consisted of a five-point ideological scale ranging from very liberal to very conservative and a magnetic resonance imaging or MRI scan this was then followed by a replication study conducted by the same group but with 28 new subjects they used the same process but additionally used quote a Leigh Whannell procedure with cross-validation in other words they wanted to see if they can determine somebody's ideology based off of the brain scans and this resulted in about seventy one point six percent accuracy what we can draw from this conclusion is that the brain areas studied are strongly related to liberalism and conservatism but there are most likely other variables involved on the subject of sample size due to the fact that when it comes to physiological aspects of the human being there's much less variability across the population a smaller subject pool won't hurt the results quite as much as it would with the sociological study like that of the one performed by the Pew Research Center previously mentioned the results were also reproduced in a study titled neurocognitive correlates of liberalism and conservatism conducted by Amodeo just master and he in which they quote found that greater liberalism was associated with stronger conflict related interior cingulate activity suggesting greater neurocognitive sensitivity to cues for altering habitual response patterns in the study read brain blue brain evaluative processes different Democrats and Republicans by Schreiber Fonzo Simmons das Fagin Fowler and Paulus we find that in risk-taking scenarios liberals have more activation in the insula whereas conservatives are more active again in the right amygdala with this information they were able to predict the subjects ideology with eighty-two point nine percent accuracy similar results were found in studies like conservatism in the neural circuitry of threat non-political images of oak neural predictors of ideology and disgust sensitivity in the neurophysiology of left-right political orientations I'll post links to all of these studies in the doobly-doo down below the studies that referenced here barely scratched the surface of all the research that's been done but I don't have time to address it all there are plenty of online articles that do the job of compiling all the research we'll enough the idea here is that there are physiological differences in brain structure between liberals and conservatives but why the predominance of particular brain structures could very well be genetic possibly overwhelmingly so but it's important to note that repeating behaviors or patterns of thought can cause neurons to reorganize or strengthen their neural connections it's important to note that the role that ideology plays is essentially a conceptual framework for which to process information more efficiently it filters information by cross-referencing with the individual's values which function as biases allowing the brain to quickly register that particular bit of information with an immediate yes or no depending on the nature of these values the framework views can demand the involvement of the corresponding areas in the brain and as shown in the studies previously mentioned those areas would be the anterior cingulate cortex and liberals and some but not all cases and the right amygdala conservatives what scientists currently know about the ECC is that the role that it plays is generally when concerning higher functions that of conflict monitoring and detecting errors which can take the form of the evaluation of new information women trying to integrate it into your current framework of knowledge problem solving and other similar evaluative functions the right amygdala plays a role in fear conditioning and episodic and declarative memory episodic memory is that of remembering sensations and emotions and declarative memory is remembering information about a particular event all three of these aspects work together first single purpose and that is the fight-or-flight response first you remember an event declarative then you remember how you felt episodic and if the stimulus was negative or perceived negative then you get a conditioned fear response this then informs all preceding decisions made by the individual either consciously or unconsciously so by relating this information to the fact that conservatives seem to be processing information via the right amygdala you can see how this correlates to their general overarching value to conserve what is the essential tenant is even present in the label that the ideology was given they have developed a strong relationship with what they conceived to be normative and they have developed a fear response to any change that might threaten to violate that fear is the modus operandi liberals on the other hand seek to liberate which means to make free and this applies to liberating stringent forms of thought to make free presupposes that something was once not free and must be subjected to change I'll be at a very specific form of change change however is the desiderata mother left this relates to these you see in the sense that the brain region deals with new information detect errors monitors conflicting information and solves problems this not only makes them more tolerant of novelty but it allows them to develop new value systems it allows them to detect errors and conflicting ideologies and it motivates them to try to fix those errors this I feel concisely depicts the current nature of our modern cultural battlefield creating new value systems versus conserving old ones and appeal to novelty versus an appeal to antiquity now let's posit a solution have those books been back there the whole time how pretentious one must study people's to see what the criterion is in every case and what is expressed bite this quote interestingly enough is made by Nietzsche and the will to power if this isn't quite explicit enough how about this quote from page 252 quote the absolute lack of methods of testing the value of these values secondly reluctance to test values to take them as being in any way conditional in the case of moral values all the anti scientific instincts came together with the object of excluding science that one may seem cryptic due to Nietzsche's strange writing style or maybe because this book was pretty much just a collection of compiled notes made by Nietzsche before his death so how about this quote on page 261 it is not a victory of science that distinguishes our 19th century but the victory of scientific method over science further down the page he continues the most valuable insights are arrived at last but the most valuable insights our methods here Nietzsche makes an extremely important distinction about the importance of science not specifically being science itself but the method while laying the foundation for a system that utilizes a scientific method for the purposes of developing a new system of values there we go in regards to the first quote I cited it would appear that Nietzsche didn't simply imply that value systems could be arrived at via the scientific method but also to how we understand people as well and I've even ascertained that this could be expanded to how we understand societies before I move on I'd like to clarify that I don't agree with Nietzsche in all regards for instance his radical individualism and his anti-democratic sentiments among other things don't have much of a rational foundation but I might touch upon that further in another episode for now let's meet the connection the scientific method as proposed by Nietzsche for developing values would be useful for experimenting and eventually developing an ideology that would not only be pragmatic but due to the fact that the scientific method would be the core value would allow for relative diversity but general consensus and the populace the reason why I believe this will be the consequence of adopting the scientific method is an ideological value so that the scientific community today has a healthy amount of diversity but a general consensus about what is true and how to achieve truth the scientific method could also be utilized for designing a socio-economic system for running an experiment testing the efficacy of a socio-economic system and then finally developing an improved socio-economic system this would also not so much create a balance but give us a proper ratio of new ideas to conserving old ones and given the nature of science with its history of revolutions constantly overturning old ideas for new ones in this dependence on a constant influx of new information would only be slightly conservative maintaining only the most necessary fundamental principles as long as they have not yet been falsified given they had once been proven true if they can't be proven true then they have no use meetcha being of this time held similar values and was somewhat liberal concerning the new versus the old emphasis on being of his time his views would be considered very conservative today on page 39 he states the period of unclarity of all kinds of tentative men who would conserve the old without letting go of the new the period of clarity one understands that the old and the new are basically opposite the old value is born of declining and the new ones of ascending life that all the old ideals are hostile to life born of decadence and agents of decadence even if in magnificent Sunday clothes of morality we understand the old are far from strong enough for something new on page 69 each other certs to generalize feelings about values are always behind the times they express conditions of preservation and growth that belong to times gone by they resist new conditions of existence with which they cannot cope in which they necessarily misunderstand thus they inhibit in aroused suspicion against what is new although I don't hold as much contempt towards the old ideas as Nietzsche I do believe that we must be capable of discerning what is pragmatic and what must be thrown out if we imagine the current spectrum of ideology we notice that people generally described it as going along some sort of x-axis from left to right but we know this to not be true there exists a y-axis with many alternative branching spectrums an ideology based on the scientific method would most likely not form a perfect trajectory my hypothesis is that it will most likely lean left due to the necessity of new information and change where possible but it will do so without sacrificing all the old values just those that are demonstrably false before we go about developing this y-axis ideology based on the scientific method we have to clarify the standards testing values according to efficacy is not anything like testing what brain region is most active when the subject is exposed to X since developing all the standards for testing value systems would take me pages to write and I'm already on page 10 of my script I'll have to suffice with an example and I'll save the complete development for another video a popular ideological contention is giving priorities to social or individual precedents how do we determine which value has more value is it possible to make the two compatible and if so is it necessary first we have to understand what our goals are and how to achieve them at the basic level I think we'd want the individual to survive and have a decent standard of living decent meaning having all needs met being relatively free from detrimental conditions being healthy and body in mind since research shows that isolation can be detrimental to both psychological and physiological health the individual will need a strong supportive social network in order to maintain a strong and supportive social network we need to have social cohesion as a foundational principle now it's a question of whether or not we expand these social networks to form a society and I'd argue that we do some groups may find themselves capable of self sustainability but due to the random dispersion of resources some groups may find themselves impoverished of those resources based on nothing but location now that we establish a society subsequently an economy to deal with the resource distribution issue we need to organize power and how that is distributed that is who gets to make the decisions or politics as we know so understanding developments in neuroscience and psychology we know that each individual only has access to a limited amount of information in other words everyone has a limited perspective we also know that there are a large variety of cognitive capacities that being said we can infer that each individual has something to offer that another individual doesn't in order to increase the probability that the best idea will be integrated in all corresponding situations we need to make sure that every individuals voice can be heard this necessitates democracy but democracy will fail if a bad idea manages to become influential and infectious in order to combat this we need to make sure we have a strong educational system to ensure that every individual will be a competent critical thinker but this also requires a well-developed brain and in order to make sure that brain development goes unimpeded throughout childhood we need to make sure that the individual has a decent standard of living meaning the abolition of stratification and disproportionate well due to the fact that trauma during childhood or critical developmental years or even being subjected to excessive levels of cortisol will inhibit brain development and cortisol for those who are unaware is a stress hormone all of this will have to be supported by the economy so it will have to be kept in mind when developing the economic system in any case this is all just a working hypothesis and it will still need to be subjected to the scientific method as you can see from the example this process works as an example for how you would set up standards of measurement for the sake of creating value systems and socio-economic systems as well you start with the question what will be necessary or pragmatic when creating a functioning society as you explore this question you will notice that your analysis will be saturated in value judgments as your values become clearer you will have to confront them when determining whether or not certain values are necessary or whether or not certain values are detrimental to the functioning of society this is now page 11 and I'm going have to end this here just let you guys know the reason why it took so long since the last video is because I had some some health issues and some financial issues just one of the less you guys know that I have a patreon and if you guys want to help me out feel free to donate to my patreon and I'll leave a link down below if not you don't have to there's no obligation the the video will be free free regardless but it's like I guess that's all for now thanks for watching and let's cogitate more next time

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5 thoughts on “On Ideology: a Revaluation of Values

  1. Important Note: I'd like to clarify a few things for new viewers due to some reactions I've received to this video. The first is that I deliberately obscured my political affiliation (though most will be able to tell from context clues that I'm a leftist) in the video for a specific purpose (one that I'm not sure matters anymore). The second is that my views concerning science and logical inquiry are much more nuanced than they are as presented in the video. I was approaching the subject as a pragmatist, and, for the sake of the video length, I had to forsake extraneous details, especially those concerning the questionable aspects of logical and scientific inquiry.

  2. Great video. Identical twin studies seem to indicate that these differences may be genetically mediated. However, that is not definitive and as you suggest, neuroplasticity may account for some of those differences. Still interested that those identified as conservative seem to have differences in the brain associated with fear while liberals are defined as differences in the area of the brain associated with making difficult decisions. It's essentially the brain area associated with understanding nuance. Cool, huh?

  3. For someone who's ostensibly into philosophy, you've not read much philosophy of science, if you still believe that "the scientific method" is a real and coherent series of steps to be followed across disciplines.

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