Social Glue Mechanism – Religion – Sunday Morning Mass
Dress your best. Behave your best. Do ceremony same as anybody else. Together with family, friends, neighbors.
Indoctrinated from young age – faith. Intellectualized as an adult – explicit understanding of practical benefits.
Beware corruption mechanisms. Know defenses against.
Two groups. One formed with the principle of family first. The other with the principle of state first.
In the first group, the people itself is the state, which is to say that there isn’t a state technically speaking. In the second, there’s two sub-groups, the state and the people. Several principles define each group. For example, by its very nature, the second group is defined by the principle of divide and control. All groups are defined by the principle of mutual survival – your survival is my survival, and vice versa. In very large groups, this principle of mutual survival is less true than in smaller groups or in a group of two individuals for example. For this, we can take the statistical point of view, where if some individuals do not survive, the group contains enough redundancy to compensate. In all types of groups, the principle of family first still applies. For example, in groups where the state is an inherited kingship, the state sub-group is formed with family first. Or, in a state/people group, the people sub-group is also formed with family first, where this ensures survival of both people and state sub-groups, thus of the main group.
Social glue mechanisms can be destroyed or exploited to turn them into social solvent mechanisms. Some mechanisms can be both glue or solvent, some simultaneously. Imagine a small group – a neighborhood – where some houses will be destroyed to make way for a mall, planned by some developer. People live in those houses. The group goes to church for Sunday morning mass. The priest has power in the form of influence over this group. The developer tries to leverage this influence by bribing the priest with a large “donation”. While a mall may benefit the group, it will not benefit the whole group – some people will lose their homes in the process. The priest understands, presents the facts to his parishioners – including the bribe. Proposes an alternative: Don’t oppose the developer, if he also builds new houses for the people who would otherwise become homeless. Here, the mechanism of capitalism is both a glue and a solvent (the mall benefits the group’s remainder, if the bribe is accepted, but the group is dimished). If instead the priest’s alternative proposition is accepted, the same mechanism is a glue only (the group benefits from remaining whole, from the mall, from the new houses, from the priest’s honesty).
In the above scenario, several social mechanisms come into play. One powerful mechanism is simply Sunday morning mass, as people, families, friends, neighbors, all dress their best, behave their best, do the same rites and rituals and ceremony as everybody else. Whether they do it out of faith or some other reason is irrelevant, it’s the act itself that matters because it’s tangible – it’s physical proof of faith, or of the explicit understanding of practical benefits, or both, whichever way you lean. It’s also physical proof that “I’m on your side. See? I’m doing it, too.”. While there may be specific explicit social glue mechanisms within the religious texts themselves, without this act of all going to Sunday morning mass, these holy texts serve little purpose on their own and have a much lesser effect on social cohesion. If you prefer, it’s the practice rather than the study that has the biggest effect.
These principles and social glue mechanisms are common to all groups, to all cultures, to all religions. They may differ in appearance and manner, but they are identical in substance and purpose. One difficulty is in distinguishing between appearance and substance, between manner and purpose. For example, the Quran prohibits consumption of alcohol, while the Catholic religion expressly promotes consumption of alcohol through the ceremony of blessing the wine. Here, the appearance and manner are different (can’t drink, must drink), yet the substance and purpose are identical – to attempt to prove oneself worthy and to worship.
Imagine a man moving to a country where his religion was not practiced. This man is a muslim and the country where he is now is mostly catholic, or the reverse – a catholic man moving to a muslim country. Would he be required to convert only so he could attempt to prove himself worthy and to worship? I propose that he is not required to convert. I further propose that he could learn and perform the rites and rituals and ceremony of a different religion, yet remain of his original faith.
To illustrate the above scenario a little bit better, imagine if this man did not have faith, yet wanted to go to Sunday morning mass anyways, maybe because he understood the practical benefits of such as I explained them in earlier paragraphs. Would he be required to convert then? No, he would not. In my eyes, so long as he is honest about why he participates, he would be welcome and he and the group would mutually benefit from his participation.
So here, on one hand we have a man who performs rites and rituals and ceremony of a faith other than his own yet does so with the genuine intent to attempt to prove himself worthy and to worship, and on the other hand a man without faith participates no differently than anyone else who has faith yet knowing the practical benefits to himself and to the group. As time goes by, either man may end up converting, but that’s besides the point. Difficulties – and there would be many difficulties in either case – can be resolved. Talk it through.
Think it through.
Do you know your neighbors? Do you visit them, even once in a while? Do you know your family, visit them, even once in a while? Do you believe your group is tight? Would it be easy to separate, take it apart? By what mechanisms would your group be taken apart? In any of those mechanisms, do you think that the above two examples would do that – separate your group? Or instead do you think that it would strengthen your group? Bear in mind that in either case, your group is bigger by 1, and any skills either man has acquired can certainly benefit the group. Also bear in mind that either man is making a personal sacrifice; one adopts rites and rituals and ceremony not of his faith; the other adopts them in spite of his lack of faith. In light of this, one would think that a man who would make such a personal sacrifice would certainly be willing to endure the hardships of life like anyone else in your group.
While I’m talking specifically about religion as a social glue mechanism, it’s certainly not the only one. There are many. Nevertheless, due to its nature and the nature of its rites and rituals and ceremony, religion is probably the strongest after family first, especially if it holds family first as one of its tenets.
I am without faith. You could say I’m an atheist, but I will say that I don’t believe in any god if you asked me. I could explain my view more at length, but I think it would sound like I’m preaching, so I won’t, at least not in this post. Instead, see this disclaimer as an admission and reminder that I’m not wholly unbiased. Having said that, I think that I have illustrated the point of social glue mechanisms and social cohesion well enough, at least as a starting point for further discussion.
OK, seriously. Why the fuck am I talking about religion and why the motherfucking fuck am I explaining the practical benefits of religion, huh? I’m a fucking atheist. I gotta be nuts. It’s the only explanation, right? Nope. I truly do have a reasonable reason to do this. In the past few days, I’ve been watching clips on yootoob about Scientology, particularly from ex-members who literally escaped. I mean, what the fuck. This shit ain’t no fucking religion, no matter how much you wanna believe. It’s ever been my impression that regardless of what I think of any religion, family first appears to be a main tenet, if not explicitly, at least as a manifestation of other tenets. It can’t be otherwise. If the family is destroyed, where the fuck do your parishioners come from, huh? Scientology contains an explicit mechanism that invariably results in the destruction of the family – disconnection. So I guess the reasonable reason I wrote this post is to illustrate the counterpart, whereby religion is a social glue mechanism through its rites and rituals and ceremony. I mean I didn’t write this directly because of that, but one thing led to another, ideas popped up, here it is. Also, this post could fit nicely with the previous where I talk about the tea ceremony and its purpose. And also also, I’ve been watching a bunch of clips about social justice, social justice warriors, freedom of speech, all that crap. I don’t care which way you lean, that’s not the point. But I have been wondering about it and I think I came up with a fairly workable model here (social glue mechanisms – social cohesion) to which I can apply the question –
Is this shit gonna make or break my community?
Martin Levac copyright 16:29 1/17/2019
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