Author Topic: Magnet Theory of Social Change  (Read 1459 times)

Cainad (dec.)

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Magnet Theory of Social Change
« on: February 26, 2018, 04:08:27 pm »
I've been workshopping an idea that I'm tentatively calling the magnet theory of social change (maybe better to call it the gravity theory, but it's a metaphor anyway so fuck it). The idea is that each of us has some amount of "magnetic" pull on our peers, as part of a greater social system.*

The society overall can be seen as a field of little magnets on a flat surface. Since politics is the subject of interest, you can imagine this flat surface has the Left-Right/Authoritarian-Libertarian political axes on it, or whatever axes you consider relevant at the moment. This spread also serves as a visualization of the Overton Window.

If you are super gung-ho about your views and pull yourself far to one side, you may be able to pull some number of people along with you, depending on your charisma and persuasiveness. But your pull on the overall field of magnets, on society generally, is dramatically lessened with distance. Likewise, if you become estranged from the pull of the larger society, you cease to care or be influenced by what the bulk of society cares about, as their magnetic pull on you has lessened. This is probably not a desirable place to be, unless you're into being a hermit or charismatic cult leader.

BUT

You can still move in the direction you want while maintaining your magnetic pull on those near you (in meatspace or headspace). Ways to do this include:

- Being chill and not being hard to talk to ("Don't get him started on capitalism, you'll never hear the end of it")
- Being rich and powerful so people are motivated to follow you

so yeah mainly just the first one is an option for most of us

What this DOESN'T necessarily include is reaching out to people who are on the far side of the society from you. This may be necessary if the opposition is (a) so intractable that it takes an unreasonable amount of energy for you to engage them, or (b) their preferred tactic is to feign reasonableness and waste your time with rhetorical games. Ideally, the magnet theory relies on the strength of the bulk of society pulling most people away from the ideas that suck ass, and allowing the fringe to be the fringe.

The more I think about it, the more this probably should be the gravity theory rather than the magnet theory. It's sort of an evolution of BIP "cog in the machine" thinking, which asked that you change yourself only so far as to effect change on your immediate surroundings, rather than futile grand schemes.



* This hinges on the general reality tunnel (which I've been using lately) that humans are a generally communal, cooperative species with occasional clashes of interest that take up a lot of our energy. This does not work if your reality tunnel mainly views humans as individual agents who are generally in conflict and only occasionally cooperate (a la Ayn Rand hyper-individualism).

Cramulus

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2018, 04:53:27 pm »
lemme crunch this a little bit - is this your position?

that basically, it's easiest to affect the people nearby you (people with slightly different opinions), and that by moving enough of them, they can act as a larger gravitational center which pulls in people from further away?




Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 05:13:41 pm »
lemme crunch this a little bit - is this your position?

that basically, it's easiest to affect the people nearby you (people with slightly different opinions), and that by moving enough of them, they can act as a larger gravitational center which pulls in people from further away?

Yes, I think that's a fair distillation of the idea.

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 05:20:33 pm »
I spun this off from the Corpus Callosum thread, but here's why it made me think of it:

If you are only one neuron in the societal "brain," I'm not sure you can really be on one hemisphere AND be part of the corpus callosum. I'm not sure it's possible to be both the bridge and the destination, in other words.

But other people CAN be the bridge. If you separate yourself from them by being a wingnut, you lose access to the bridge.

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 11:55:10 pm »

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2018, 12:52:16 am »
Related: https://youtu.be/lTnQLEstpHo

Very cool vid and I think I get what you're getting at here. There's a term called 'standing in the gap'. It's often used for right-wing purposes but at the end of the day it can mean anyone willing to get into the middle area instead of staying on the fringes. There's a lot of hard work to be done in the corpus callosum so to speak. That work can't get done if you're out on The Fringe trying to push your own perspective or staying in some kind of echo chamber. Hard part is the gap is a place of constant conflict that may be overt or low-key. I like the guy's perspective on patience in conflict. Often enough the winner is not the one making the most noise but the one that gets through to whoever can be changed.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

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Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2018, 03:45:32 am »
I think it's important because it allows for not wasting your energy on people who's reality tunnels are so at odds with yours that the effort required to effect meaningful change is just not worth it.

You can get outside an ideological echo chamber without jumping headfirst into, like, /pol/.

You can be moderate in your approach without having to compromise with shit. Keep yourself in a position where your influence can actually mean something.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2018, 08:57:10 am »
For my part I like to be supportive of people with whom I agree or at least people I like. It's often more necessary than proving who's right or wrong in a situation. It can be as simple as just responding to a message or lending an ear when someone needs to vent. I guess you might call it being supportive tissue rather than a neuron.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz:

Cainad (dec.)

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2018, 02:41:12 pm »
Here's what I would consider an example of applying this theory on a personal level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NFy6Uc2BHs

The title is not very descriptive, but in short it's a straight, white, male who plays lots of video games using his voice to expose people like him to better ideas than the shitty ones they've likely been exposed to on the Internet... and says that's precisely what he's doing, no trickery or mind games.

The Wizard Joseph

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Re: Magnet Theory of Social Change
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2018, 01:57:43 am »
Here's what I would consider an example of applying this theory on a personal level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NFy6Uc2BHs

The title is not very descriptive, but in short it's a straight, white, male who plays lots of video games using his voice to expose people like him to better ideas than the shitty ones they've likely been exposed to on the Internet... and says that's precisely what he's doing, no trickery or mind games.

That was very interesting to watch. It's almost like an evangelism of sorts. But not a high pressure sales tactic. I like that he talks about the meta strategy of the alt-right and then blatantly states his own meta strategy. I think I get what you're getting at a little better now.
You can't get out backward.  You have to go forward to go back.. better press on! - Willie Wonka, PBUH

Life can be seen as a game with no reset button, no extra lives, and if the power goes out there is no restarting.  If that's all you see life as you are not long for this world, and never will get it.

"Ayn Rand never swung a hammer in her life and had serious dominance issues" - The Fountainhead

"World domination is such an ugly phrase. I prefer to call it world optimisation."
 - Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality :lulz: