Session Summary

Rites can produce different intensities of “Social Glue” depending on their frequency and emotionality.

Catalyst for unity was not driven by technology, but by rituals and codification.

During his return to New Guinea, Whitehouse found that most of the population had now adopted a new religion called the Kivung, which united them with other tribes on the island as they shared the new rituals and practices.

Imagistic rituals form the Social Glue of societies which bond groups together into tight-knit units.

These rituals are infrequent and are intense emotionally. They are designed to create cohesion within relation groups and is found to be useful in high-risk pursuits.

Cohesion within a larger population requires a standardized ritualistic belief system.

The doctrinal rituals differ from imagistic rituals in which they happen more frequently, allowing for deviations to be readily detected and for authoritative doctrine standardization. These doctrines are typically codified in oratory or text, which allows for fast and efficient spread.

Identity fusion is a form of alignment with groups involving the union of personal and social identity.

Fusion is characterized by abnormal relationship between personal and social selves.

When a fused group is attacked, highly fused individuals feel that these attacks are personal in nature and hence, rally to defend one another. This was observed during the 2011 Libyan Revolution where many people were willing to lay down their lives for the benefit of the collective group.

Identity fusion can be reinforced by a shared traumatic experience within a group.

A study conducted during the Libyan Revolution showed that front-line fighters were more likely to identify and fuse with other front-line fighters who shared the same trauma received during battle.

We need to harness our cooperative instincts to build a fully functional Collective Brain.

A universal moral compass acts as a guide.

A key to this is to unite the world under a universal moral compass that everyone can abide by. There are seven key traits – help your group, help your family, return favours, be brave, defer to superiors, divide resources fairly, respect others’ property.

The Collective Brain has the potential to be detrimental.

Cooperation has historically been used to instigate conflict between societies and build industries that pollute the planet and deplete the world’s resources.

The power of shared experiences can potentially unite Malaysians.

This common experience is the core of the fusion process within a group. Whitehouse recommends that we focus on strengthening this shared experience, and to look beyond national boundaries.