That everything, literally everything I say, is just status signaling? This goes not only for me, but also for everybody else?
I certainly believe that there were several astronauts on the Moon. I don’t want to be a moonhoaxer, which is a low status designation or label; so I rather believe, that there were Apollo astronauts on the Moon. I even remember those Moon landing times, so it is even a bit more difficult for me to become a moonhoaxer.
Isn’t there a point, where you can no longer lie to yourself, even if doing so meant a higher status? Perhaps, lying to yourself is a huge status killer.
Which is it then? That I think, that I know that the Eagle has landed, therefore moonhoaxers are of a low status?
Or, that I think moonhoaxers are low status people and I am afraid to investigate the NASA Apollo program very deeply?
They are indistinguishable, those two. I think, therefore I signal it. I might lie, if surrounded with some armed and dangerous moonhoaxers; but only until I manage to escape them. I would know all the while, that Armstrong was indeed on the Moon.
It is expensive to think long and hard about everything, so humans are willing to outsource this decision making process – what to believe and what not to believe – to others of high status.
There are plenty of these status towers. Magnus Carlsen is on the top of the chess tower. No he isn’t! Some chess engine ought to be. Magnus is only the highest positioned human there.
Well, is this all just an empty tautology, those different, very subjective status towers on my mental landscape? Or is it a really useful tool to predict what is going on?
It is a very useful tool. I know I can sway your political preferences (or any kind of belief) only when it will make you better positioned on your own mental status tower. I can teach you how to square root swiftly in your head. In case it’s a new skill for you and you find it useful, your self-perceived status will increase a bit. You can see a payoff in a net status gain. But if I want to persuade you that infinity has no place in mathematics, it will be much more difficult. What can you possibly gain, if you cross to this small and obscure finitist cult? Not much, but you have a lot to lose in terms of status. Except, if you are a top mathematician, you really understand what I am talking about, and that there is really no obvious mistake in my line of reasoning.
Only then are you willing to become one of us.
You can persuade of/teach somebody something only if that increases his status in his own eyes.