23 October 2006

Issues and opinions on the Tree of Life

pick an opinion
on the yahoo zodiac
and color green
all statements that agree
with that opinion
red those that disagree
yellow if they're mixed

when the opinions vary
along a dimension of liberal/conservative
make the liberal pole green
the conservative red

now consider an individual lifeline
on the Tree of Life
stereotypically green in youth
redder with age

different issues are first addressed
at different ages
(joyce illustrates this in 'portrait')

and in youth
(or youthful maturity)
various different opinions
may be experimentally adopted

extraordinary intelligence
may discover a deeper pattern
that switches conditionally
between green and red

now zoom out to the branch's immediate family
and its community
and track the patterns
of conformity vs rebellion

contrarianism for its own sake

alternation of generations

then zoom out spatially
to see the community's
unity or diversity
vs its neighbors
(wars normally fought across boundaries)

and whether opinions are evenly balanced

and whether the minority is
clustered or dispersed

out to the geographic antipodes
where the given issue may or may not
even be of any interest

and zoom back chronologically
to see how opinions evolved
from ignorance

or whether they've polarised artificially
only in this epoch of inauthenticity

note largescale cycles
between liberal and conservative

opinions that have gone extinct

wars of conquest that convert
opinions en masse