The Museum of Vestigial Desire


tags: tribe published on:

A fraternity is important to be able to draw the battle lines. If you belong together with someone, you might as well organise yourself.

Being organised creates a group identity for you. A group identity is heavier than a personal identity and can move much slower. It can only move as fast as the slowest in the group.

But fraternities are kinds of social groups which do not expect total buy-in from its members in terms of commitment to norms of behaviour and ideology. They are clubs for doing activities, for marking individuals and developing a collective social enclave. Fraternities could easily seen as clubs. They are group identities which are more tolerant of their constituents.

On the field, you can have fraternities that behave like freelance street-fighters, willing to fight for any side that seems to be winning. They establish their own power dynamics based on a flimsy fabrication of a collective frame to which they feel they belong.

Fraternities make it easier to make a shooting arcade out of public space. You can take pot-shots at anyone, kill anyone at will. Accountability is low and anyone can lay claim to either victimhood or saviour-hood.

For the game to move forward, things have to break. If nothing breaks, building up again is quite a redundant and useless exercise which nonetheless needs to be performed because of a lack of options. A build-up is a season of refresh that becomes an opportunity for trying new ideas. Fraternities help in the process of break-down, because positions are more or less fixed and assumed, when the domino falls the whole cascade starts getting dismantled. Events are arranged to avoid full resets as much as possible. Nevertheless, when situations reach fever-pitch, when the broth comes to a boil, the reset is performed.

When the number of planes in a given formation need to be analysed, the lesser the number of bodies, the better. More bodies populate more thought, more confusion, more noise in a system. If the bodies are more or less chunked together into a few distinct groups, it becomes easier to analyse the planes, assess the situation and decide a strategy.

Often during a war, the first thing that a tactical general does is to break the entrenched fraternities of the enemy. How do you cause things to break?

Causing disruption is a skill and does not come easy.

To cause disruption you need to have your feet in at least more than one camp. If you don't you will not feel confident to really shake things up. To really shake things up, you should first have a stable ground to stand on. Fraternities break when individuals become more important than the group dynamics and the group formation. Good leaders never allow this to happen in common appearance. Even if there is a hegemony of a few individuals, even if commonplace hierarchies run the roost, it needs to appear as if there is some new set of social relations at play.

Fraternities break when emotion leads to a prioritisation of the humanitarian over the ideology. To be cruel is simple, but to be humane comes at a costs which pull back from the possibilities of linear progress and general furthering of the agenda. In order to keep the overall tone of discussion at a very low level, a kind of control mechanism has to be deployed that has very low possibility for engagement to emerge. These sort of control mechanisms are essentially unstable states. These states are unstable because from the mere surface friction of engagement, thought can arise.

And once thought has risen, it can all come down very easily.

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