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Definition of P Factions

In the Collective worldbuilding project thread I mentioned the Exaltation as an example of a p faction. P may stand for philosphical or principled, and in some sense also “political”, but not all political factions are p factions. So, let me define what I mean by a p faction:

  • A p faction is a group of people who bind together on the basis of a set of coherent philosophical principles.

In some sense, there are already p factions, but they rarely become politically successful:

  • Marxists
  • Different flavours of anarchists
  • Libertarians
  • Objectivists
  • Utilitarians
  • Transhumanists

These philosophical schools of thought may be influential, but they are typically less successful than more populist and less principled factions. The philosophical purity of p factions rarely survives when a p faction wants to meddle in real world politics. Political parties often become opportunistic and make ugly compromises in order to increase and maintain their power. Whole nations are even less principled and philosophical, because they are based on compromises between different parties. So, to simplify it in sense of philosophical coherence and purity:

p faction > p superfaction > party > nation > alliance

Now what is a “p superfaction”? It’s a union of different more specific p factions. Let’s take a practical example. Let’s say there are generic transhumanists, objectivist transhumanists and utilitarian transhumanists. The generic transhumanists which are not objectivist or utilitarian or subscribe to some other clearly defined philosophy don’t constitute a real p factions, but they are part of the transhumanist p (super)faction. The objectivist transhumanists and the utilitarian transhumanists are p factions in themselves and p subfactions of the objectivist / utilitarian / transhumanist p superfactions.

So, what is the Exaltation? The Exaltation is a p subfaction of the p faction of utilitarian transhumanists who also adopted the principles of

  • Ecstasy: The radical increase of happiness is a core principle of the Exaltation. Hedonistic augmentaions like genetic happiness set-point enhancement and beneficial “wireheading” implants are core technologies which the Exaltation uses, because it has this principle of ecstasy.
  • Responsibility: The Exaltation sticks to the concept of compensation of harm that is inflicted on others. When harming others cannot be reasonably avoided, those who endure the harm should be compensated generously.

In the Exaltation Verse the Exaltation has to deal with competing p factions which are also p subfactions of the utilitarian transhumanists:

  • The Exuberance which adheres to the principle of ecstasy, but not that of responsibility
  • The Sanctuary which doesn’t adhere to the principle of ecstasy, but that of responsibility
  • The Vastness which reject both the principle of ecstasy or responsibility, but it is still utilitarian transhumanist in nature.

There also may be (transhumanist) p factions which focus either on the rights of individuals or of that of group- and hive minds. But I haven’t thought too much about that issue, yet.

My premise for the future is that p factions will become more influential as general levels of wealth, intelligence, and education rise, because people will start thinking more rationally and philosophically.

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Is this scheme correct? Because you said that a p superfaction was a union of p factions, which means that the superfaction should be bigger than the faction

Ok, that line of “>” signs was a bit counter-intuitive. I didn’t mean size in the sense of number of members or something like that, but
"X > Y" means that X has greater philosophical coherence than Y. This means there is more agreement on philosophical or ideological questions between generic members of X than between generic members of Y.

So, yes, p superfactions are bigger in the sense of having more members than p (sub)factions, but p (sub)factions have greater philosophical coherence.


OK, now I get it. Thanks

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There is one thing you should think about and resolve to elucidate why p factions are difficult. Think on families, and the different views within. Relations like friendships, romances, job relations.

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Yeah, that’s a very good point. Historically, ideological organizations have used the tools of violence or exclusion from the the group to maintain a strong ideological coherence. Religions suppress heretics by condemning, excluding, or even killing them. Especially cults also try to make their members as dependent on the cult as possible, so that they really feat exclusion very much.

Methods of punishment and exclusion are still used to many different organizations, even if they aren’t very ideological, for example companies.

When it comes to nations, things are slightly different. Ideology only plays a strict role in authoritarian countries. And in those cases citizens are expected to adhere to the state ideology, or they will be punished for deviating from it by their actions.

But when we talk about p factions, they are much more like voluntary clubs which people can join freely, and which they can leave freely without losing a lot. This seems to be not very compatible with the idea of owning some concrete physical territory, because if you live on a territory of some faction and you leave that faction, you live on the territory of someone else – some foreign power. That’s a real problem.

This would suggest that p factions would be at best something like virtual nations and that the territory they live on belongs to another category of organizations (be they tribes, or nations, or something else).

This also points to another difficult aspect: While some members of a p faction might authentically share the values of the p factions, others might join that p faction for social reasons, because they have some relationship with a more authentic member. Or they might be in just for some sort of advantage that official membership in that p faction comes with. Those would be inauthentic members of a p faction. Should they really be counted as actual members? Would it make sense to differentiate more precisely between authentic p factions (with members being authentic by definition) and social extensions of these p factions?

Though questions.