DarkHorse Podcast with Daniel Schmachtenberger & Bret Weinstein

Democracy and the Epistemic Commons

What’s Really Driving Global Problems in the World Today?

How to Steer Away from Catastrophe 

Bend Not Break

A Facebook Post –  Virtue Signaling

Virtue signaling: I just came to understand the phenomena a little more than I have before. In the last few weeks, I saw a man who I know to have been sexually abusive to women make a post about how terrible sexual abuse is and why it’s so harmful societally, lamenting about why people don’t understand how damaging it is; another man posted warning people to watch out for covert manipulation, being someone who does that as fully as anyone I have encountered; another person post on how important it is to get out of toxic relationships, where I know several people who struggled to realize and get out of confusing toxic relationships with this person; someone else write at length about how destructive narcissism is, as someone who might have the most intense form of that pattern I personally am aware of; and another person on why transcending the ego is central to humanity’s path to salvation while demonstrating a truly impressive level of megalomania.
This many cases in a row of people I personally know signaling the exact opposite of their real behavior, and even of being a crusader against it…made the phenomena click for me. I held virtue-signaling as more of a general inclination to signal desirable traits. This phenomenon of wolves putting on sheepdog costumes hadn’t landed as so ubiquitous before. Perfect signaling to attract people newly aware of the issues and looking for trustworthy friends or protectors. I could see that generally, these people would then offer some real counsel and support to people who sought help with these issues. This is a kind of weaponized trust-building.
Now that I say it, it seems so obvious – the politician crusading against gay marriage getting caught with gay prostitutes, wanting to signal specifically related to what he wanted to hide. Despite knowing those cases, for some reason, anytime I encountered a real person saying what they valued and the issues they were concerned by, my default response was to believe they were sincere. I won’t switch to leading with mistrust, but I will take more time to see how words and actions sync and pay more attention to their previous relationships. Still respecting the presumption of innocence and giving the benefit of the doubt and good faith…while adding awareness of this counter-signal pattern and the need for warranted trust to be earned through shared experience and time.
Sharing this in case it helps anyone avoid unnecessary pain. Betrayed trust sucks. We can do our part to avoid the experience by honing our discernment regarding trustworthiness.
P.S. If you don’t know me, of course you should assume I might be virtue signaling with this post related to the same types of harmful traits I’m pointing out.

In Search of the third attractors