I have been participating in a book group this year; we are reading Leonard Peikoff’s new book The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West are Going Out. After having engaged is some rigorous chewing of the book with my friends, I will begin making some posts related to that topic.
Unless you are some kind of mooching parasite suckling dully and ignorantly at the tit of the welfare state or an altruist focused on the redistribution of values created by others, you have probably identified, that despite the wondrous achievements available to us today through trade, there is some horrific corruption at the foundation of our culture that is undermining the good and sliding us towards a new dark age. While that identification comes readily from simple observation, in this book, Dr. Peikoff brings a full career of studying philosophy to communicating the cause of this problem, its mechanism, the likely outcome based upon current trends, and the solution.
Fortunately, to mitigate this risk, all we have to do is think; unfortunately, many of us will need to learn to think correctly and undo the damage aided by our publicly financed education and our houses of worship. For that task, the best book that I can recommend to an autodidact is Ayn Rand’s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology. In the next post explaining the “D”, “I”, and “M” of DIM, that comment related to thinking correctly will become clearer.
In approaching this topic, I am going to make several focused posts and this one focuses on the question of “What is this DIM Hypothesis?” As is my preferred method, I will quote substantially from the book and as relevant append my related comments. Given the focus of this site, my review will focus on the hypothesis and how it applies in politics.
On pages 71-72, Peikoff explains that the DIM Hypothesis has two separate hypotheses; one is cultural, and the other is historical. So far, my study has focused on the cultural aspect and I will be writing principally about that at first; however, that historical hypothesis offers the cause-and-effect consequences of these principles in action over time.
On the cultural aspect, quoting from Peikoff (pp. 71-72):
The cultural thesis assert that, since the Greeks’ development of philosophy, cultural fields in the West have produced up to five but no more than five essentially different kinds of products, defined by their mode of integration.
Upcoming posts will focus on two important concepts needed for understanding, independently validating, and applying this first aspect of the DIM Hypothesis: mode of integration and cultural product. Is there anything else in that statement that you think to be worthy of more chewing? Maybe a list of relevant quotes about what culture is relative to the individual?
On the historical aspect, quoting again from Peikoff (p. 72):
The historical thesis asserts that the West’s mode of integration has changed several times across the centuries, and that this has occurred not by chance, but in substantial part because of the logic of modal progression.
I am looking forward to chewing “modal progression” more. I have some information about the conclusions that Peikoff will be making, and I have a healthy “show me then I will test it myself” attitude as this aspect of the DIM Hypothesis seems very aggressive; however, I have already been seeing evidence outside of the book that is supporting Peikoff’s hypothesis, so I am excited to wrestle with those ideas.
The point of this post is simply to state in his own words Peikoff’s hypothesis. We will be chewing the key terms. Next, we will examine Peikoff’s cited evidence. Plus, we will go further by looking at additional relevant evidence to see how well Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis holds up. If we find that the cultural aspect of the hypothesis does hold up to examination in reality, and I am confident that it does, then we will tackle the second aspect of the DIM Hypothesis.
In the next part, “What is all this Disintegrated, Integrated, and Misintegrated stuff?”
Related Selfish posts:
- Burgess Laughlin’s book review on DIM on The Main Event
- Ari Armstrong’s book review of DIM in The Objective Standard
- 6 Key Quotes from Leonard Peikoff’s DIM Hypothesis, selected by Daniel Wahl (TOS Assistant Editor)
- The DIM Hypothesis lectures from the Ayn Rand eStore (Part 1 / Part 2)
- Student Q&A on “The DIM Hypothesis” with Dr. Leonard Peikoff