These beliefs are entirely conscious, not subconscious; they’re simply unexamined, unquestioned. Because they’re fundamentally contradictory, Mother Culture must provide arguments to support both sides of them.
We are the highest product of evolution (or God), but we are inherently flawed and inclined toward evil; most people are completely comfortable holding both views. Our nature manifestly fits us to rule the world; but we are the most destructive force on earth; most people are completely comfortable holding both views. The way we live is the way humans were meant to live from the beginning of time, but the way we live produces crime, misery, poverty, hunger, madness, and chaos on a massive scale; most people are completely comfortable holding both views.
The contradictory nature of our central cultural beliefs doesn’t trouble us, because it’s supported by a belief that there are two sides to every question (a belief that in turn supports the contradictory nature of our central cultural beliefs). It’s hard to think of a single issue or value on which we are not divided. We view division as the normal way of conducting social business. Our modus operandi is inherently adversarial at every level: Whig/Tory; Liberal/Conservative; feminist/anti-feminist; pro-life/pro-choice; prosecution/defense.
After the WTC attack, everyone said, “Well, at least it’s brought us all together.” I knew this would be a very temporary condition. Within days we found a way to divide ourselves into two camps: those who thought we’d invited the attack by our own actions and those who thought we hadn’t. This is yet another bizarre aspect of our culture—and peculiar to our culture. One of the most striking things about Leaver peoples is the rarity of such factionalism. And I’m unaware of any Leaver belief systems that are self-contradictory (though of course this doesn’t prove there aren’t any).
updated: 22 Jun 2002