After reading some David Friedman on subcultures and rereading The True Believer by Eric Hoffer I am now convinced that the ability to make an impact is a much larger part of human motivation than I previously thought. This explains in fuller detail why young people keep jumping to new causes (ACAB/Cop City/Trans/Whatever the Alt Right is into these days) – they can make a difference in those new fields. If a young person enters a subculture that contains older people, say climate change or housing veterans, they’re competing against veterans with decades of experience. The “No Cop City” movement is brand new, and anyone can make a difference. No experience needed and the young are on equal footing with the old. Indeed – the young are somewhat more advantaged with a higher amount of free time and fewer accumulated commitments.
Granted – this relationship has always been present, but I think I’ve underweighted it in every aspect of human endeavor.
Upon reflection, I’m reminded of this quote from Olaf Stapledon’s Odd John (regarding the villain of the story)
And why? Because, as I begin to discover, there’s a sort of minute, blazing star of worship right down in the pit of his hell. He sees everything from the side of eternity just as clearly as I do, perhaps more clearly; but—how shall I put it?—he conceives his part in the picture to be the devil’s part, and he’s playing it with a combination of passion and detachment like a great artist, and for the glory of God, if you understand what I mean. And he’s right. It’s the only thing he can do, and he does it with style. I take off my hat to him, in spite of everything. But it’s pretty ghastly, really. Think of the life he’s living; just like an infant’s, and with his powers! I dare say he’ll manage to find some trick for blowing up the whole planet some day, if he lives much longer