Say there is person or group A and person or group B.
A and B agree-ish and/or align-ish on or with respect to X and disagree or disalign on or with respect to Y.
(X and Y could be norms (like driving on a particular side of the road), so, in that case, the content of X and Y wouldn’t matter so long as everyone is in agreement. Or, X and Y can be closer to “truths,” where the specifics matter as such—but, even in that case, there’s something normative going on, in how a “truth” is mutually “formatted,” “symbolized,” “situated,” “expressed,” “utilized,” “enculturated,” “contextualized,” “accommodated,” etc.)
We could say that A and B, with their agreement/alignment on or with respect to X share a local close-enough isomorphism with respect to X.
The word “local,” above, is important! (There might be a better, more precise word.)
I use “local” because, generally (not universally, that is, at-least-always-sometimes-and-at-least-often-but-not-always-without-exception), here is a postulate about the human mind:
Call this Mark’s Agreement/Alignment Nonmonotonicity Postulate:
(postulate part 1a)
Sometimes, if a persons/groups A and B believe/agree/align on X and disbelieve/disagree/disalign on Y (granting, here, that both X and Y are true/good/something), all things being equal, person A must first disbelieve X before believing[/agreeing/aligning] on both X and Y.
(Here, the disbelieving is what leads to the disagreeing and disaligning.)
/(postulate part 1a)
(postulate part 1b)
The first part of this postulate (1a) is true for some person (A or B) even if that someone has read parts (1a) and (1b) of this postulate. That is, personal knowledge of postulate part 1a does not exempt someone from having belief dynamics according with postulate part 1a.
/(postulate part 1b)
What postulate part 1 implies is that, the process of coming to more global agreement generally has at least transient disagreement built in at a very fundamental level. That is, if there’s seeming local agreement, generally, even that local agreement isn’t stable during the process of coming to more global agreement.
This is counterintuitive, that local agreement can suddenly become disagreement, and that total disagreement seems to be increasing, and that this can be a good global thing even if as the process of coming to agreement might be coming closer to breaking down entirely. Watching for this may be helpful for riding out the increase in local disagreement.
(postulate part 2a)
All things being equal, one can’t assign much credence in advance at to whether they’re A or B or whether any particular belief/agreement/alignment is X or Y.
/(postulate part 2a)
(postulate part 2b)
Personal knowledge of postulate part 1 does necessarily convey information about whether one is A or B or whether any particular belief/agreement/alignment is X or Y.
/(postulate part 2b)
Postulate part 1 is a claim about how (body)minds work. If some person or party claims part 1 is true, and some second party comes to believe or provisionally grant that part 1 is true, that second party may also assign higher credence in other claims by the first party being true. And, so, knowledge of postulate part 1 and its statement can be statements of power and therefore potentially coercive.
Imagine a second party saying to the first: “We agree about X and disagree about Y. I claim Y is also true. I also claim that you will disagree with me on X before you agree with me on Y. Given those claims, I also claim that any future disagreement about X is at least a weak sign that I’m right about both X and Y.”
Postulate part 2 is is indirectly derivable from postulate part 1 (not done here) and is stated “top-level” because it’s something of a corrective on part 1 being used in a potentially coercive way.
So, postulate part 2 could be used as a bit of shibboleth, in that if someone states part 1 and does not state part 2, then something wonky might be going on with that someone in terms of how they’re relating to the process of coming to agreement.
(postulate part 3a)
Finally, recursing on part 2, a person knowing postulate parts 1 and 2 does not exempt someone from postulate parts 1, 2, and 3. That is, again, all things being equal, one can’t assign much credence in advance at to whether they’re A or B or whether any particular belief/agreement/alignment is X or Y. Which is to say, the corrective of part 2 doesn’t necessarily make someone “better” on any particular dimension including on the “knowing postulate part 2” dimension and the “knowing postulate part 3” dimension.
/(postulate part 3)
(postulate part 3b)
And, so, coming to know/believe/agree/align on which X and Y are true, useful, etc., is facilitated by and may require non-zero egalitarianism and humility for both A and B. That is, seeming certainty, non-provisionality, or a belief in “completely/perfectly dominating special knowledge with respect to X or Y” will destroy the group truth-seeking/agreeing/aligning process.
/(postulate part 3b)
Further, provisionally assuming the above, any joint epistemological/aligning process must be resilient to non-zero strife, friction, etc., in principle, in order to have a chance of succeeding.
And, to meta-agree, to jointly make an environment somehow truly safe for disagreement, and therefore the possibility of more global alignment, may be a sociology-complete/civilizational-complete problem in the limit.