Cognitive Thrift 18 – Dogma
Scott Douglas Jacobsen & Rick Rosner
May 28, 2017
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: We talked about static, dynamic, or simply dogmatic thought or patterns of people. This is less functional in a highly dynamic, often-changing, and increasingly changing society based on technology, science, and other things. Can you give us some examples of dysfunctional dogma? And how might we change that? How might it change?
Rick Rosner: We can look at the 20th century, which saw the erosion of faith in many traditional belief systems. Even science, which got bigger and greater in terms of its successes in the 20th century also got scarier and weirder and more dysfunctional.
You had the Titanic go down in 1912, which signalled the beginning of distrust in big engineering. You had relativity and quantum mechanics dethrone classical mechanics, classical physics, and made everybody feel weird. You had the erosion of patriotism in the second half of the 20th century, the erosion patriarchy, the erosion of things like the Boy Scouts became super unhip – where no kid or few kids were ashamed to be a Boy Scout in 1940, but there would have been a lot of kids who would have been embarrassed to have been a Boy Scout in 1980.
So, some of the erosion of traditional belief systems or traditional belief systems or things that are traditionally valued were probably due to over-reaching or too many uncomfortable revelations on the part of the institutions themselves. You could probably trace a lot of the erosion back to information.
When there’s too much information that undermines an institution, it becomes harder and harder to believe in it wholeheartedly, and the second half of the 20th century saw fewer and fewer institutions being able to shield themselves from information about themselves being revealed.
JFK could screw around with a zillion woman while feeling that he wasn’t in much at risk of having any of this revealed. Gary Hart was the first, 1986, was the first huge presidential candidate brought down by an affair, and Clinton had all his dirty laundry aired.
Information probably drives the erosion of faith in traditional structures. The more you know abut sports, especially recently, the less you can wholeheartedly believe in it. The Tour de France, apparently pro bicycling is entirely based on avoiding being caught doping and the NFL, our entertainment revolves around players whose average lifespan is something like 60.
They are engaging in something that is going to cost them their rest of their lives and will cost them 20 years of their lives on average.
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American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing
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