(i) love, love, love Josiah. Please let him not have been a jerk in real life.
(ii) the gist of his argument (unless something major transpires in the last chapter) is:
- Humans experience tension btwn the desire to be authentic to themselves and the need to define authenticity with reference that which is outside of them (society, family, etc)
- Loyalty to a cause alleviates this tension as one identifies oneself as the player in something larger than oneself, thereby uniting the inner and outer
- What cause? Of course there are good causes and bad causes, though regardless of the cause, loyalty is a good for the loyal person and the inclination to be loyal should never be discouraged, though the target could be. Anyway, the appropriate target, generically, is loyalty. We should be loyal to loyalty (hence the never discouraging loyalty part).
- Any substance to this? Yes, one should never be loyal to a cause that makes it difficult for others to be loyal to their causes (this has quite the Kantian flavor to it -- also in the idea that we must choose that to which we are loyal).
- and....having committed to being loyal to loyalty the particular way we choose to do this can be through means that are conducive to our personalities, etc.
- People are loyal to lost causes: I found this particularly interesting because this explains why so many folks in power claim to be persecuted. It's way easier to be loyal to something that is persecuted than something that's already won. We want to be loyal to causes that need us.
- Loyalty requires some level of idealization - typically we use the past to achieve this. We talk as if the way things used to be were the ideal and now we are working to retain that which we once had. He notes that art is frequently used to achieve this idealization.
- Instilling the desire to be loyal is one that must start young and, interestingly, he notes the use of stories with clearly defined heroes and heroines as a way to do this with children. He also suggests sports but cautions that the loyalty must be, ultimately, to fairplay and that adults can get too involved with sports and turn it into something that is ugly and what we call loyalty but is really a mockery of it