IT IS ARGUABLE that progressivism as a whole is reducible to nothing other than the process of extending self abstractly until the self perishes; but this is merely a way to diagram or measure it as 'progress'. Another process whereby 'self' expands to merge with 'world' is decomposition; the end result is identical.
CERTAIN RELIGIONS OF THE EAST are amenable to this, even if in practice they are counter to many of its actual practices such as intense vice, because they see the self as ultimately an illusion, anyway. The reasons for this extend logically from the Eternity placed in the heart of man combined with his circumstances and his native tendencies (a cumulative result of this pattern.) Man must be immortal, but dies; this paradox alone tells you more about what kind of religions may be practiced than most contemporary descriptions of religion as power (which is power scapegoating religion.)
THIS RAISES AN IMPORTANT QUESTION, which is, how far may the self actually extend? What do extensions of the self mean - are there only two categories or are there more? Is there more to the self than just 'me'? It is clear that if you start from an egalitarian metaphysic -- that is -- the idea that all things are natively equal except some distortion be introduced against nature (a religious idea), then you must eventually take issue with the concept that I exist, or that anything other than I exists. The equalism must be muted by some countervailing force, which either means it is not the absolute principle underlying things (the theory of everything) or it is one of more than one principle, introducing multiplicity as somehow fundamental. Without this limitation, equalism or egalitarianism must eventually flatten all things out, including, somehow, the round earth itself.
IT IS CLEAR THAT THERE IS A HIERARCHY, which is to say 'a sacred source' and all that comes from that distinction - and that all things exist as a complex order. Hierarchy itself implies therefore, 'en arche ton ho logos' - in the beginning there was the Word. Man wishes to be immortal as his source is immortal - and his medium - the medium of any creature to some extent - is orthogonal to this drive.
IN SPEAKING OF PROLONGATION, we often talk about one axis of distinction - r versus K. r-strategies focus on filling space quickly and cheaply as a means of prolongation, whereas K focuses on effectively keeping the space held. The strategies reinforce themselves over time, as for instance men can relatively act r-selected, but can never produce hundreds of offspring at once the way a frog or spider might. It is the case that however r-selected a human population might be (such as American blacks in the cities) there is a limitation due to the massive foundation of prior iterations wherein men survived best by a relatively K-strategy, this would indicate that a population which drops below the r-limit will become dysfunctional, possibly parasitic, and certainly doomed in any circumstance but a relative paradise (but might be outcompeted in that environment.)
THIS RELATES TO THE SELF in that r-selection disperses it more, making the prolongation less 'self' and more 'likeness' or 'image' of self, whereas K-selection can drive towards the other extreme of complete identification. In the former the risk is the dilution of what is being prolonged, and in the latter the risk is that any loss halts the prolongation. In theory, sexual selection itself prevents - or should prevent - pure narcissism in the long run because it requires two individuals and therefore must output a minimum of two individuals to maintain a population, required for prolongation.
IT SHOULD BE OBVIOUS that the endgame for hyper-K selected men is to have themselves cloned. One goes in, one comes out. Adaptation might be able to be finessed with technology, which is to say, technology that is external to the body. (We are already equipped for this.) The cost-benefit ought to be analyzed, but due to the religious aspect of prolongation, the value of self-continuance may outweigh any cost. Such may be the end of individualism taken as an absolute.
THUS THE RANGE FOR MEN lies somewhere between American blacks, who for example, might be one of 20 children of a single man with several (perhaps even up to 20) women with whom he is not married. The other extreme of this is the example of Maureen Dowd who will likely never marry, who because of various traits both natural and acquired, cannot reproduce. For there to continue being a Maureen Dowd in the world -- ? There cannot be, unless she gets herself cloned. Her K function is perfectly maximized to the point of not yielding any ground to a man or a fetus. For a likeness of her to persist, someone else has to produce an extra child.
EVEN THOSE WHO HAVE ONE CHILD are pushing the edge of this K-selection limit, but whether this is a problem or not depends on the range of children produced and therefore the average. So one can support a certain number of Maureen Dowds and Singletons provided there is a range of more r-selected families on the other end, that are enough like them to produce someone similar to them. This is one reason why the problem of low birth rates cannot be fixed with immigration; unless the emigres are a former diaspora, such as might be the case with Jews returning to Israel or Irish to Ireland, the people will be qualitatively different for better or worse, and thus will be replacing and not prolonging that population.
ASSIMILATION PROVIDES A MIDDLE GROUND where a continuation between the old stock and the new stock can be had, though it will be changed slightly by absorbing the immigrants. The similarity of the immigrants to the old stock gives us the safe level of absorption. But the rate will be below 5%, meaning a really insufficient birth rate cannot be overcome by assimilation.
THE SECOND AXIS of prolongation strategy is height. s/T strategies refer to short and tall strategies respectively. The obvious relation to plants here should be noted; plants that get closer to sunlight are most benefited, but there are costs associated with being taller, such as heat dispersion, getting eaten by herbivores, etc, that affect whether being tall or short is the best way for the species to continue. Even among a single species strategy may differ under difference circumsntances: violets in a bright field will grow small leaves and be so low to the ground that a lawnmower cannot cut them, but in the shade amongst plants they will grow larger leaves and may grow up to a foot in height (or more.)
EVEN SOMETHING LIKE LEAF SIZE has to do with s/T strategy, larger leaves are more costly, but in the right circumstances beat small leaves hands down. Some plants have reduced the disadvantages of large leaves by forming leaflets - a leaflet getting attacked will be less harmful to the overall vascular system of the leaf. A plant which is by default invested heavily in T strategy is called a tree. Simple plants like moss are masters of s-strategy, and have prolonged themselves from time immemorial because they are so low to the ground.
AMONG MEN THERE ARE SUCH STRATEGIES, but they are subtle. While there may be other examples of s/T strategy, the one that comes to mind is linearity. In defining the 'line' (and it has to be one and not two, unless both lines are important enough) of genetic descent, the descendent is predisposed to a certain identity and therefore a certain loyalty. In general the T strategy is patrilinearity, practiced by most majorities and anyone in a position of strength, whose sons are likely to be prominent. The s strategy is matrilinearity, which means that even if you produce no leaders, your daughters may marry such prominent figures and therefore preserve your line, your identity, and your prolongation.
THIS ALLOWS US TO MAKE A POSTULATE. The s strategy would therefore make daughters more favorable than sons, since identity will be transferred through them, up to an obvious limit. At that limit, the culture must dissolve since the leadership capacity of the male will be gone entirely. A minority might slowly insinuate itself into a population this way; the real carrying capacity/size of that group would be determined by 2x its number of sons, but if it produced extra daughters (meaning it produced more daughters who married and had children than sons) it would slowly spread its identity into the host culture, provided it kept up with the nominal birthrate.
LIKEWISE, THE REVERSE IS ALSO TRUE, that T-strategy would make having more reproducing sons favorable, up to a certain point. Generating excess males is always dangerous, and the limit of excess males would be determined by eligible non-members of the group who are female. A social group which is 95% of the nation would still need to produce a near even quantity of sons and daughters: if we have 100 representative families each producing about 2 children, 95 of these are the majority. If they produced 98 sons and 92 daughters, their extra sons could marry the daughters of the 5 minority families and integrate them into that identity, provided the minority identity was not matrilineal or if it was, the majority identity was stronger. In the example, one son would be without a mate, assuming the minorities had 1 son, 1 daughter per family average.
THE LIMITATION ON THIS OF COURSE, is clear. If one had all sons, one would have to import foreign females. This would also be the case if all native females were unfit for reproduction either because they took vocations that prohibited it, or because they were made unfit by some cultural or genetic degeneration.
IN GENERAL, A GROUP THAT IS INHERENTLY MATRILINEAL is a permanent minority and will always be thrown out of power even when it gets it. The inability to switch into a patrilineal mode in times of strength would make it always parasitic, even in situations where realistically, it had the capacity to become a majority. For instance, it would seem most likely that Israeli Jews will cease being matrilineal at some point, having no need for an s-strategy. American Blacks have been effectively rendered matrilineal by cultural degeneration, and between Europeans and Hispanics there is a conflict; both are patrilineal but the European stock on the whole and particularly among the elite has become the weaker stock and will be overtaken with present trends continuing, provided they do not mask a significant inner activity (such as devoutly religious Europeans far out-producing non-devout/non-religious Europeans and eventually becoming the majority within the majority.)
WE CAN POPULATE A DIAGRAM FOR OUR OWN VISUALIZATION.
r/K r | K s/T T Hispanic | European ------------------+------------ s Blacks | JewsWE MAY SPECULATE THAT GROUPS which have significantly different strategies, whether because of environment or genetics, will come into conflict. The degree of difference x the percentage of the unassimilated population = degree of conflict. Ergo, the small fraction of T/K American blacks get along quite well with Europeans, just as the s/K feminist Europeans would get along well with the Jews. T/s differentiations will likely create more conflict, particularly if they are binary like matrilineal vs. patrilineal.
THE ABILITY TO SWITCH STRATEGIES while keeping the core of the identity whole will be a key to the survival of human groups in the coming time. Until geography stabilizes again, expect chaos that requires resilience.