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Mundia and Modia

John has linked to a nice fresh Brian London's reading of the 2014 essay by David Boxenhorn, Mundia & Modia: The two worlds in which we live.

Czech Christmas Mass or "Hey Master", by the 18th century Czech rural teacher Jakub Jan Ryba [James John Fish]. Singing from 1966, animations based on pictures by the famous Josef Lada. The elaborate lyrics mostly describes the social reactions to the birth of the Savior – which apparently took place somewhere in the South Bohemian countryside, a healthy region full of milk etc. close to Austria whose dialect was used as the basis for standardized Czech. Those of you who only know "Good King Wenceslaus" should realize that this mass conveys something about the actual spirit of the country previously ruled by Duke Wenceslaus I – but later, in the 18th century.

Boxenhorn mostly invented new names for the world inhabited by the people who prefer the natural-science-based perspective on the world where the laws are fixed and the truth is independent of humans, Mundia, and the world whose behavior and beliefs are all about social dynamics, Modia. I don't know why these exact words were coined. And it takes some time to get used to them. But it might be a good idea to have such special words for the "worlds".

It is being claimed that each of us inhabits both worlds – but each of us is far more invested either in one of them, or the other. Also, the Mundia-vs-Modia – a novel way to put natural-vs-social or nature-vs-nurture in the most general context of human lives – is said to be the primordial driver behind most political splits. The political ideologies and camps evolve, rearrange, and occasionally flip but their being associated with Mundia or Modia seems eternal and the Mundia and Modia seem eternal as the initial ingredients of all political approaches.

Right-wingers, farmers, engineers, men, and natural scientists tend to live in Mundia; left-wingers, academics especially in social sciences and humanities, Hollywood, people doing P.R., women, and similar folks are more likely to be in Modia.

Also, it's being argued, it's unsurprising that the people are moving to the right as they get older. Why is it so? Because as kids, we're dependent on our parents or family and we're uncritically adopting attitudes that are "obviously" right. However, we learn that some other "obvious" authorities in the society often stand on the other side than our parents. For this reason, all of us are forced to choose and some of us are encouraged to think.

Modia is a world of consensus, envy, love, hate, admiration, gratitude. Mundia is a world of gravity, electromagnetism, string dualities, supply, and demand. ;-) Of course, whether economics is "quite like a science" is questionable because economics may be fuzzy and inaccurate but I do agree that by being focused on some at least approximate fixed laws of the system (many of them surely work – especially if you reduce some statements to pure mathematics), economics is closer to the hard sciences than the constant re-manipulation of humans.

Boxenhorn also made a comment about the climate change. While he describes the climate debate as a topic in the overlapping world of both Mundia and Modia – I agree with that – he made it clear that he shares the view that the people believing in "experts" and "consensus" are really living in Modia. Some climate alarmists in the YouTube comment section want to put the belief in the dangerous climate change squarely to the world of Mundia, it's "clearly" science because 2,000 IPCC people believe this stuff etc.

Well, I have the advantage of being smarter than any of those 2,000 mostly very unspectacular people so I know that the climate skepticism is an overwhelmingly Mundia issue and, even more obviously, the climate alarm is a "gift" from Modia. The more you analyze the issue scientifically and objectively and without references to social movements, faith, fashions, and fantasies, the more you see that there's zero basis for worries about the global climate in the next century.

But it is true that strictly speaking, no one is completely self-sufficient in these matters. One has to believe in some pre-determined insights or, at least, in the negligible magnitude of many effects one has to assume to be secondary and not game-changing. As far as I can say, the probability that some neglected (by me) issues could change the game is very small. Nevertheless, I do realize some minor portion of Modia that influences me when it comes to such complex issues. And I do believe that the people who are much better than me in atmospheric physics, like Richard Lindzen, depend (even) much less on some "wisdom from outside" than I do.

What's crazy is that those people who clearly live almost 100% in Modia, like some commenters under that YouTube video, don't see that their belief in the "consensus of experts" is a Modia attitude at all. This complete blindness must mean one thing: They are almost 100% unfamiliar with Mundia – or the independent thinking about or verification of scientific propositions. They haven't even started to think about the possibility that they could look at the issue rationally or scientifically by themselves. If they were at least slightly familiar with those methods, they would have to know how extremely shaky and Modian their current methods to reach the truth are.

As I said, there are very clear correlations between Mundia vs Modia on one side and parts of the societies (and age groups) on the other side. More seriously, there's a trend. The Western civilization is becoming brutally Modian while Mundia is almost being eradicated. Boxenhorn reminds us of some optimistic old Mundian facts, however. Companies that become completely Modian, non-meritocratic (and all about nepotism and human preferences for allies etc.), generally fail soon.

That's perhaps good news but it may be very expensive, too. To a large extent, whole nations of the Western civilization are becoming fully Modian. So what will fail may be these whole nations or the civilization as a whole. Our nations may be replaced with some other nations that stay more Mundian, perhaps the Chinese, Russians, or Persians. There's a part of me that says that those are also members of homo sapiens so if they dominate the world in 2050, that's just fine – and an example of the selection at a higher level in action. There's another part of me that cares about those people's "not being quite us", not being sufficiently biologically or culturally related to "us". Why can't our nations be the right ones?

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