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Awareness, power, and morality

There are few things as intoxicating as knowing something that other people do not know. Exclusive information is perhaps the oldest and most original binding force for cults and radical organizations. Is there anything that can more tightly hold a group together than an absolute certainty of their own conviction? The interpretation of right and wrong often takes dangerous turns and dives under the light of new information. Knowing becomes an addiction for the morally sensitive because the thrill of seeing the cards turned over has left a scar on their psyche. And perhaps cults are metaphorically like a den of addicts all seeking the same high.

Society is like an onion, with many layers, and with each layer watching the layers below. It is only the certainty of an exclusive information that allows the formation of a meta-awareness, the formation of a new outer layer. Power structures can only be replaced if they are comprehensively understood, and power structures often employ their influence to prevent such understanding. And perhaps not even maliciously, because it is a reasonable hypothesis that a machine works more smoothly without prying eyes. When the exclusivity of information allows a structure to operate efficiently, then perhaps an entity that has the capacity to see the whole structure is only born when a group of agents know an even more exclusive information.

The knowledge of an exclusive information is like an awakening if the information is certainly correct. It is not because the information itself is so precious and valuable. It is because there are often a million adjacent propositions that can also be resolved just by knowing the one fact. And a million for each of those million. Just as a cloth can be unraveled by pulling one thread, so too can a cloth be made whole by weaving together one thread. In this sense, society is a tug of war between that which is trying to weave together a new cloth from new certain information, and that which is trying to obscure the new information because it impedes its internal operation.

Moral sensibilities are refined by weathering the tug of war. It is only by understanding to the best of one's abilities what is at stake, and what the relevant information is, that one can eventually find comfort in the turbulent moral seas. And it is not that every person arrives at the same conclusion given the same information, which would be ideal, but it is more the case that every person arrives at a conclusion that is compatible with their personality, temperament, and most importantly, awareness. Every person hedges their bets in their moral battles according to their personal understanding of their bounded perception. And it is this inability to become morally synchronized, the laziness in which most people deal with moral matters given the impossibility of unbounded perception, that guarantees the inevitability of all future conflicts. But it is also this inability that allows the navigation of multiple perspectives simultaneously, perhaps ultimately leading to a better cloth being made.

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