Vinay Gupta's Secular Northstar
How we might actually unite the world.
There’s a lot to say about Vinay Gupta. He’s one of my T50 - the set of writers and thinkers whose work helps me clarify my own thinking and workout my third order epistemic skills. If I can see the world in the same way they do, I’ll have some great advantages. Vinay has given me this “How To Live” which I’m sure comes from his experience housing and identifying refugee populations.
Most importantly, I think Vinay has found what I call the Secular Northstar. It is about the governance of children. Of all the postmodern values we often flirt with or pay others to enact with our Scooby snacks, very few of them show any long term provenance or value. So our media reflects our schizophrenically short attention spans. In my shortcuts to value, I pay close attention to whether or not I would let any of these ideas and concepts come near [my] children. If the answer is no, then I sort the idea into the category of ‘brain spew’, which is generally the bucket of stew that destroys meditative states and plays dice with my seratonin.
If on the other hand, an idea or set of concepts guides towards skill development and corrects the ordinary sets of barbaric and infantile behavior of actual toddlers and schoolkids, then I give it a higher priority. Nothing speaks quite so loudly about the failures of our society than our declining inability to teach anything of enduring value to children, or to protect them from the predations of nihilistic narcissists and usurious algorithms.
I’m expecting Vinay to compile, any year now, a set of principles that everybody in the world who loves their children find reasonable and compelling, and the sort of governance framework that codifies that into law and policy. This is the Secular Northstar around which I can get motivated, because it seems to take an actual infestation of zombies to get people to stop their careless spinning and dreaming and do something constructive. I don’t want to appear or be so cynical that I actually think the bulk of civilization that is not at war is stupidly conservative or mindlessly insipid. I want to have some goodwill towards man. So the Secular Northstar is the direction. Otherwise there is nothing to do but to make peace with God.
For the moment, I simply want to put that idea in your head - that there is definitely some set of values within human nature that are easily accessible and we can understand in terms of the effect on children, and that there are logical implications from those values that scale well. I say so as a son, as a brother as a father.