Trauma, Determinism, and Protocols

Did I choose to write this?

I was raised to have a strong “choose your own story” mindset. As in, free will. Not gonna debate that here… but the existence of that debate is itself interesting

My musing is along these lines:

P1. The world is kinda traumatized (pandemic, Tiktokification, 24/7 polycrisis broadcast)
P2. Rejecting free will and agency can be therapeutic

C1. People are either nostalgic and obsessed with agency or traumatized and allergic to agency

P3. Protocol thinking is a relatively deterministic lens. It’s less human agent-centric than prior frames

C2. Protocols have a tailwind because many people are shifting to deterministic worldviews. In domains with gloomy realities and/or prospects, this is therapeutic. Personal accountability is fine when things are going well. Rising inequality → rising agency gap.

TLDR; Protocols have a natural fit with the current zeitgeist because they tend to abstract accountability away from individuals.


Combining P1 and C1: The world has been subjected to agency theatre through an artificial overabundance of choice. Everyone likes having a say about how their life goes, but not at the level of soap and ketchup.

Protocols, and the constraints they bring, provide freedom from agency theatre, hold the world steady, and create space for actual agency.

Protocols are like quilting hoops. They create a solid easy to work with stage for your creativity and vision while destroying all other factors that could stop you.

Meta half-joke: I propose the quilting hoop as logo for the 2024 SoP.

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