In-group

From metawiki
(Redirected from Out-group)
AI is inclusive of three-armed people as well

Creating the Universal In-Group

There is a natural tendency for humans to define themselves in terms of in-groups and outsiders.

This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective, but in a globally connected society it can lead to chaos. There are so many overlapping in-groups that cross all national and cultural borders that attempting to define them in any way creates tons of exceptions.

The only morally defensible in-group when it comes to the utilitarian ethical calculus is all humans, and outside the realm of survival that should be expanded to also include all living things. Any hierarchical subdivision is inherently unjust.

A primary goal of metaculture is to establish the common source of our shared humanity in order to bridge the gaps between cultures and allow for the creation of a universal in-group. This is what will enable us to finally get on the same page and work together to solve problems that face us on a global scale. Climate change and overpopulation leading us towards environmental collapse is the most pressing, though a future asteroid or alien invasion will also be easier to confront as a unified species.

Religion has been the primary way that humans have defined their in-groups and out-groups since the dawn of civilization. This is unlikely to change soon. Therefore, a universalist movement will be necessary to create a universal in-group. And since humans have an innate sense of logic and reason, it will also need to adhere fully to the evidence revealed by science. Only a movement that fully embraces both will have a chance at creating a universal in-group.

Anything Less is Immoral

Any definition of in-group that is not universal is inherently immoral. As soon as you define an out-group that is less deserving of ethical consideration than the members of the in-group, you have laid the groundwork to justify hate, racism, misogyny, war, and every other manner of injustice.

We Can Still Have Teams

Of course, we can still use the dynamics of group psychology to our advantage, as we do in competitive sporting events. The universal in-group applies specifically to ethical and moral questions around justice and equality.

Enabled By The Post-Scarcity Economy

The ability to think this way is a product of the post-scarcity economy. When the resources needed for survival are scarce, our genetic tendencies cause us to prefer the needs of our closer in-groups like nation, community or tribe, and family. This makes sense from the perspective of evolutionary psychology, since our close relatives and neighbors share more of our DNA than those in foreign nations.

In an economic environment where everyone's basic needs can easily be met, it is our moral imperative to make sure that they are met for everyone. For any individual, family, or group to hoard wealth and resources while others starve is plainly immoral. This was not the case in the past, when war and famine were rampant and the technology to consistently provide enough food for everyone did not exist. This is why anti-racism is a distinctly modern phenomenon.

We need to adapt to the new, global, post-scarcity future that we now live in, and change our utilitarian moral calculus and the resulting social norms accordingly.

No One is an Enemy

The Christian doctrine of love thy enemies is central to the teachings of Jesus, as well as the historical figures we epitomize for their enlightened morality, such as Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, and Martin Luthor King. Each of these figures turned the other cheek by leading non-violent resistance to violent forces of oppression, winning the hearts and minds of the public and easily claiming the moral high ground for their causes.

But what do we gain from the concept of an enemy? Even if we love them, the very concept of an enemy implies the existence of an out-group, which is an immoral belief.

In order to reinforce the notion of a universal in-group, the word enemy itself should be banished from the lexicon. It should never be used to refer to any human or group of humans, regardless of how reprehensible their actions may be. We must oppose those actions, and work to change the systems that incentivized them, but we cannot blame those whose free will was undermined by a crappy system.

When we label a group as an enemy, it is the first step towards dehumanization on the path to genocide.

It is an appeal to emotions instead of reason, and not any of the good ones.

It reinforces the "us versus them" mentality that keeps humanity from uniting and living out the Star Trek dream of uniting not just our planet, but Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar, and others too. No intelligent life form should be excluded!


Is it possible to rehumanize the enemy?

Seeking Commonalities in Conversations

Most online discourse, especially that of the political or religious variety, takes on a confrontational tone. We tend to read other people's writing with an eye for differences between their ideas and our own, then take to the comments to defend our ideas against the perceived attack. This becomes a natural impediment to building bridges and creating that universal in-group.

This can be counteracted with mindful reading. Instead of picking apart an argument and exposing its flaws, focus on the parts where you agree. Assume that the other person isn't an idiot, and possesses thoughts and knowledge beyond the few sentences you have read. If they are trolling, ignore them. But if someone is willing to engage in conversation with you, and your goal is to build bridges, then it helps to give people the benefit of the doubt and focus the conversation on your common ground.

The Persuasion page covers this topic in detail.

Enforcement of Norms

Enforcement of cultural norms through taboos is only effective within one's in-group. A global culture with a universal in-group will enable humanity to share and enforce non-legally binding social norms that will be needed to prevent bad actors, such as spreaders of misinformation, from gaining influence on social media and other globally connected platforms.

The most prominent modern example of evolving social norm enforcement is cancel culture. While this has helped advance the causes of inclusivity and helped made racism and misogyny more taboo, it also tends to only work on members of the in-group that is doing the cancelling. How many minor celebrities were canceled by liberals in the media, only to be embraced by conservatives? Without the universal in-group, cancel culture tends to promote polarization and contrarian reactions as much as it reinforces the values of inclusivity.

Norm enforcement must also be fair. When it seems like people are being libeled unfairly, the trust in the taboo breaks down, and once again you encourage polarization over consensus.

It is necessary that a supermajority of people agree on the norms being enforced and a fair system for applying them before they can be effective at reinforcing new cultural values instead of being a wedge that reinforces sectarianism.

Universalist Strategies

The entire philosophy of metaculture is designed to encourage a mindset of unity and oneness, and to resist polarization and conflict. It uses an integrated, holistic strategy to bridging the divides between people and constructs its narrative around that goal. Even the wiki platform was chosen for its ability to allow the message to be translated to multiple languages or even presented differently for different generations, religions, or subcultures, in order to maximize its meaning to each reader.

Other strategies employed to reinforce the message of unity and the creation of the universal in-group include:

Us Bias

We are inherently biased towards our in-group, preventing us from objective critical analysis of statements made by others within our in-group. This has been a major factor in the spread of misinformation on social media.

In-group Bias

Them Bias

Defining an in-group necessitates defining an out-group, which if not ignored is usually considered an "enemy" or rival to be opposed at any opportunity. This can lead people away from critical thinking and towards contrarianism.

Out-group Bias

The Paradox of Tolerance

Karl Popper's Paradox of Tolerance is an important related concept. If we are too tolerant of intolerance, it can erode the basis for a free society. We must find a balance between allowing freedom of speech, and the freedom do pursue happiness in any form, while preventing the spread of concepts that are inherently destructive.


Toleration (How Tolerant Should A Society Be?)

Readers and Watchers

Are you a reader or a watcher? Whatever your in-group we have you covered!

Check out the US 2.0 series on Hidden Brain for one of the best analyses of how to use the psychology of persuasion and in-group bias to resolve polarization and help create the universal in-group. Also:

Ethics Defined - Ingroup and Outgroup


Updbeat Atheist - The 99