Tanner Greer has a new post on Post Liberals, which is an extension of two threads: globalization and creativity.

If you get a bunch of ancient Greeks together to go take a city, they are going to sit around campfires, tell stories, and show off. There are a couple problems with this:

(a) They will learn from each other that each has a city god. In their worldview, this is a huge problem because each god is exceptionally capricious, and what are the odds that all the involved city gods will form a coalition that will last as long as the siege? So they handle that cognitive dissonance by creatively rationalizing; if you lean towards an internal spiritual source, then you lean towards Stoicism and philosophy, while the external leaning people move towards monotheism.

(b) They aren't going to train directly for the siege.1 The famous Greek stories (the Odyssey, Anabasis) are stories where they got themselves into a situation and needed a scrambly (and usually long-winded) extrication.

Now fast-forward to today, as Greer does, where he sees that the primary political constraints are the division of the world into managers and the managed. Which seems mostly correct, except that one can go a bit further by putting them on a creativity spectrum (Creativity has three main bands: those who just accept the default happenstance, those who will find creative responses, and those who will generate a whole new game).

The problem with liberal vs conservative politics is that each is an attempt to find new cognitive dissonance minima. The conservative looks at the complex now and hearkens back to a seemingly better past while the progressive looks to a better future. Both narrative responses seek to move the person from the difficult to the simple. Neither response is helpful because they both distract from the complex now, and it is always easier to just disagree than to find a new creative solution.

Contrary to what one would expect from these narratives, the world has improved massively in the last two centuries.2 Greer's 19th century mid-Westerners had much higher mortality rates and were much less in control of their lives, unless you think they were death-ambivalent.

Consequently, the world really is the creatives' oyster, now more than ever. For a contemporary take, look at the proposed global corporate tax floor of 15%. Do you sincerely believe that people will not find creative work-arounds?

The age-old rubric is that the outcome of any encounter will be controlled by those with the widest range of behavioral responses. Greer would have to believe that the world has devolved into a Kafka-esque nightmare for that not to be true. And even if that were the case, identifying that you are in a nightmare is the first step towards extrication.