Karma. Dogma. Self-assembling, in the long run.

Charles Hugh Smith recently examined dogma versus karma, and pointed out some inevitable truths.  He spoke from an economic perspective, but his words apply equally well to our nation as a whole.

Karma covers a lot of ground, but it boils down to consequences: consequences not just from your actions but from your convictions, schemes, obsessions, and yes, dogmas.

The reason why Karma runs over Dogma is that nobody clinging to a dogma sees themselves as dogmatic. The true believer never sees their conviction as dogma, but as Revealed Truth, as self-evident, a view that is buttressed by all the other True Believers who surround the believer, reinforcing their conviction and soothing any nagging doubts by mocking, “debunking” or marginalizing heretics and critics.

In our society, the mass media serves as a soothing echo-chamber of dogmas. It must be true, the news anchor said it on TV, etc.

Dogmas generate power and profits. Trillions of dollars flow into a few pockets because people believe the dogmas that “you need a college diploma to succeed” and “America’s healthcare system is the best in the world.”

As evidence-based doubts seep in, those at the top of the “faith” who have the most to lose become increasingly fanatical and rabid, pushing an increasingly restrictive Orthodoxy on true believers and establishing an Inquisition to excommunicate or eliminate any heretical doubts or dissenting views.

As the increasingly detached-from-reality leadership senses their power waning, they double-down, exhorting the faithful to support the orthodoxy even as the orthodoxy reaches new heights of fanaticism.

As moderates drift away (or sneak away, loudly proclaiming their fealty to cover their escape), the leadership triples down, demanding unwavering loyalty of the remaining believers, who themselves triple-down by reassuring each other that they really are on the right track and the world is about to awaken to the correctness and righteousness of their cause.

The problem with dogmas is that they are detached from the real-world consequences of dogmatic convictions.

. . .

Military dogmas get discredited on the field of battle, often in dramatic fashion. Financial markets (unless they’re manipulated, of course) also provide painful real-world feedback. Those predicting one side of the trade will eventually be proven correct or incorrect.

To an alarming degree, the U.S. is dominated by dogmas that benefit the few at the expense of the many, and by leaders who are doubling or tripling down to defend the dogma and their power … The leaders, safely protected from the consequences of their elitist dominance and fearing the loss of their wealth, power and prestige, ramp up the time-honored strategy of increasing demands for loyalty and public virtue-signaling, jacking up media propaganda in support of the orthodoxy, and moving to ban, shadow-ban, suppress, punish, discredit, demoralize, de-platform, demonetize and marginalize critics, i.e. heretics who challenge the status quo’s foundational dogmas.

. . .

Dogmas collapse first in the minds of believers, when they slowly awaken to the reality that the dogma no longer serves them, it only serves to prop up the wealth, power and prestige of their increasingly fanatic leaders. Propping up a failed system doesn’t actually fix what’s broken; it only guarantees the banquet of consequences will include shackles: the option to escape the consequences will no longer exist.

There’s more at the link.

What worries me is that I’m seeing both sides in the American political divide concentrate on dogma to the exclusion of karma (reality).  Both sides are absolutely convinced they’re right, and the other is wrong.  Both sides are proceeding on the assumption that “their” right will triumph, and the other side’s “wrong” will be defeated.  There’s no effort to compromise, no effort to look at things through the other side’s spectacles for even a moment and concede that maybe, just maybe, there’s another valid opinion out there.

When two dogmas collide and shatter, the “true believers” will always blame the other dogma for their failure.  They’ll never pause to consider that perhaps reality is to blame, because they refused to take it into consideration . . . and because of that, they’ll double and triple down on their dogma, willing to plunge the nation into civil war rather than admit there can possibly be an alternate reality to that which they perceive.

We live in dangerous times.

Peter

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