Ask A Genius 528 – Religion and Community: Mutual Experience
August 8, 2019
[Beginning of recorded material]
Scott Douglas Jacobsen: What religion and community in America?
Rick Rosner: Okay, so, you were mentioning other aspects of religion that might be important in a world dominated by scientism. I mentioned my weekly argument with Lance. Bullshit conservatives are trying to argue mass slaughters on people not going to church anymore.
More than 40% of Americans go to church, which is a lot more than dozens and dozens of countries where people are godless and do not go to church at all or very little. They don’t have mass slaughters.
But what they might have in places in Finland is a sense of community, say in the 1950s in America, which was reinforced by patriotism, the Boy Scouts, and everybody going to church. So, one thing that religion can provide or that is important about religion is a sense of community, and a sense of framework, of people fitting in, and a framework of values.
But you can get those same frameworks even in godless societies. If you figure out ways of structuring your society that put people into communities, I suspect that there will be, if we are lucky, the emergence of more communal structures in America and the rest of the world, even as religion dwindles.
Jacobsen: So, you were mentioning spirituality a few sessions ago. What about the social ethics that are tied to those more fundamental ethics or emergent processes like persistence and order? What are some of the derivatives there?
Rosner: We are more connected informationally than ever before. A lot of the information that we share seems stupid and our behaviour with regard to this information seems stupid. LA is full of zombie cars now or cars that are stopped on the street for no reason, except the person driving the car has decided to stop and use their phone.
It is crazy how many people are stopped at a light or on a side street where they won’t create a hazard. They are just looking at their shit.
Jacobsen: That is crazily rude by Canadian standards.
Rosner: It is super nuts. I honked at like 4, 5, 6 people driving 3 miles from my house to the gym today. They were all people who were only half-driving.
Jacobsen: For those who don’t know, you suffer from road rage, real road rage.
Rosner: Yes, I’m a pissy driver. But if you don’t have a pissy driver, traffic drives to a halt. Most people assume people stopped are stopped because there is a traffic reason. But if you actually look at the cars that are stopped, often, incredibly often in LA, they stopped at a stop sign or whatever because a person decided it was okay for them to take a minute or two to take a look at their screen. It’s fucking crazy! It’s insane.
It may be only cured 5, 10, 15 years from now as more cars become automatically driven. So, people are free to look at their shit all the time. We look at our shit all the time. Optimistically, you can predict that people might form effective communities out of being so connected informationally.
This constant sharing of information among people may build communities. Let me give a very optimistic example, America is in the middle of a homelessness crisis. LA has, at least, 30,000 homeless people.
Most other big cities have a bunch of homeless people. I’m sure there were homeless people in smaller communities across the US too. At least, some of this is caused by automation, reducing the number of hours that people need to work.
If automation is not a serious cause of this, and I think it is, people would rather accuse other things like Mexicans of causing underemployment or whatever. It will be increasingly in the future.
When people don’t have enough work, they can’t support themselves and get in bad situations, but the possible future good is that the less work people have, then the more time they have to support each other.
I’ve been learning about homelessness because it is a big deal in our community and because I am on the Studio City Council now. It is probably the biggest concern among the Studio City Council people.
One of things about homelessness is if you are going to get people off the street or get them into better situations at all. You have to approach them at the concierge level, whether cops or somebody else and ask, “What’s your deal? What do you need?”
You have to get them involved in wanting to improve their situation and then hook them up with ways to improve their situation. One way to get some people off the streets is to reconnect them with their families, and get them to want to embrace their families and their families to embrace them.
That is an incredible manpower, person-power consuming process. This concierge stuff, when you’re talking about the mentally ill, who might be 1/3rd of those who are homeless. You have to take them to a place where can be diagnosed and put on meds. You have to keep them on meds long enough for them to work.
Then you have to keep them on meds, even after they feel sane again. What happens to people who feel sane again, they think they don’t need the meds anymore and then they stop taking them, and then the mental illness comes back.
This takes a lot of human hours, human contact. One could optimistically hope that as the future unfolds and the need for human labour in the world to produce stuff dwindle. That humans can devote the resulting spare time to each other, which also implies a need to pay people for doing less work.
If there is less work for people in general, then you still need a functioning economy based on people having money to spend. Conservatives call anything that involves paying people for anything but work socialism.
But it’s obvious that the world of the future is going to have solutions that have people caring for each other in ways that today’s super shitty American conservatives are loathe.
[End of recorded material]
American Television Writer
Scott Douglas Jacobsen
Founder, In-Sight Publishing
 Four format points for the session article:
- Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
- Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
- Footnotes & in-text citations in the interview & references after the interview.
- This session article has been edited for clarity and readability.
For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:
- American Psychological Association. (2010). Citation Guide: APA. Retrieved from http://www.lib.sfu.ca/system/files/28281/APA6CitationGuideSFUv3.pdf.
- Humble, A. (n.d.). Guide to Transcribing. Retrieved from http://www.msvu.ca/site/media/msvu/Transcription%20Guide.pdf.
License and Copyright
In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com and www.rickrosner.org.
© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.