Main Source of Pagan Ethics Is A Tunable Social/Spiritual Network, the Logos, the Yoga, the Awen

This idea was first developed in the eastern Magi Civilization and imported into the west by Greek Heraclitus, Jewish Babylonian exile returnees (Deuteronomy), and most importantly by Jesus
  1. Source of the Law of Return/Attraction and Wiccan 3-Fold Law 
  2. Source of Karl Jung's ideas of Synchronicity
  3. Source of "what goes around comes around."
  4. Source of eastern Karma idea
  5. Source of many Jesus' parable such as "those who have will get more while those who don't have will get less."
  6. Source of Wiccan Reed of "Harm none then do as you will." 
  7. Source of the Golden Rule "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
  8. It is the reason Jesus taught that we should love others. 
Portrait of John Donne
Portrait of John Donne (born January 1572 or 1573 and died March 31, 1631) was an English poet, scholar, soldier and royal secretary.
Image is a late 17th century copy of a 1616 work by Isaac Oliver (died 1622). Wikimedia Commons at:

No Man is an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 

From MEDITATION XVII, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions (1624) by John Donne

social network example showing that people with similar dopamine receptor genes tend to preferentially associate
A social network example showing that people with similar dopamine receptor genes rs1125394 tend to preferentially associate (from Fowler and all 2011) . This gene controls acquisitive goal driven behavior so the "go with the flow" people tended to cluster together and the goal driven people tended to cluster together. This genetic to social clustering linkage was only found in one out of 6 behavioral genes tested showing that many other factors are in play. The arrows indicate claimed friendships. The people with the gene variant AA (each parent provided an A gene) cluster together as do people with variant AG.
Bottom Photo: Dogs propagate yawning just like humans showing all social mammals live in an emotional propagation network having the evolutionary purpose of social coordination. How much of that is a consciousness level spiritual component is unknown but the ability to propagate emotional biases to group members while not being exposed to danger would provide a huge evolutionary advantage.
Dogs yawning demonstrating emotional propagation

Emotional Propagation and the Law of Attraction/Return

(July 3, 2022) Emotional propagation is the bi-directional transmission feelings and perceptual biases by non-verbal means. This ranges from yawning to the tendency for groups to dress similarly because of a common perceptions of aesthetics. Emotional propagation bias has been scientifically demonstrated to occur in social networks by Christakis and Fowler (2009).  

The evolutionary purpose of this sort of emotional propagation is group coordination via perceptual and emotional biasing. Evolution would have favored those groups which could non-verbally coordinate themselves better than other groups. In order for social animal groups to act coherently in the absence of language they must act from a common perceptual bias based upon non-verbal signals. For example, if the group needed to gather food then non-verbal signals had to be used to motivate the whole group. If the group needed to rest then yawns are propagated instead.​

Christakis and Fowler (2009) consistently found that various emotional influences tend to pass as far as a friend of a friend of a friend (3 degrees of separation). They identified five social network properties:

  1. We shape our network
  2. Our network shapes us
  3. Our friends affect us
  4. Our friend’s friend’s friends affect us
  5. The network has a life of its own

A consequence of emotional propagation is the Law of Attraction which is also called the Law of Return.  Whenever emotional biases are generated in a network they will circle around and come back to influence the original generator. The classic example of this is yawning. A person yawns causing nearby friends to yawn which in turn causes the first person to yawn more in a positive feedback loop. Eventually the group rests.


Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do . Little, Brown & Co. New York
Fowler, James H., Settle, Jaime E., Christakis, Nicolas A. (2011) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 108:1993-1997
Cooperative group sizes can become larger when punishment is added
Cooperative group sizes can become larger when punishment is added according to computer simulations (from Boyd and all (2003). 
We naturally cooperate with people in groups composed of around four people where everyone's cooperation can be seen. More than that and freeloading starts to happen unless some sort of group punishment is triggered which can range from group exclusion to physical discipline. On the left axis the number 1 means 100% cooperation. The different colored lines represent the frequency at which punishments are handed out: purple 3%, red 1.5%, blue 0.75%. The survival cost of the punishment was 4 times as severed to the punishee and to the punisher. 

We Shape our Emotional Propagation Network

(July 3, 2022) We shape our network by subconsciously deciding who will be our cooperative associates, in other words, who will be in our "tribe." This subconscious decision is based upon a mix of  genetics, culture, and life experiences. That we even have a social network is due to the evolutionary advantage which groups have over individuals (Christakis and Fowler 2009). More people means better security and greater group productivity due to economic specialization.

This group superiority seems obvious but it has also also demonstrated by mathematical analysis and computer simulation. These show that individuals who get a cooperative gene and so cooperate will out survive better and pass on that cooperative gene to future generations. Consequently, cooperative gene individuals become the most numerous in a population.

But then something surprising happens. The selfish gene does not disappear. When a certain percentage of cooperative people is reached the selfish gene people start getting a free ride. The cooperative types end up doing all the work and taking most the risks (as in hunting). Due to the added risks, the cooperative types now start to die out and the population reverts to mostly selfish loners again. The population keeps cycling like this and never grows above a certain level.

The evolutionary solution was to impose an innate reward/punishment system with those rewards/punishments coming from perceived authorities and leaders. This is why most humans subconsciously recognize and blindly follow various authorities. This is why humans subconsciously define as "good" all cooperative traits and label as "bad" all selfish traits.

This enforcement benefit is seen in various other computer simulation studies including that shown in the figure on the left. 

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Consequently, we tend to associate with people we subconsciously see as fellow cooperators in a phenomenon called homophily. These are people who are “like us.” This is reflected in the old adage “birds of a feather flock together.” This phenomena makes those rare social connections between people of different subcultures important for any sort of cultural  innovation.​

Even with our tendency to group with similar people, we still subconsciously define just how many of those we will include in our group and at what level of intimacy. We also define how central we will be in our social network. In a study covering three thousand Americans the average American has four “close social contacts” with most having between two and six, half of whom were friends while the others were family members. The number of people who had no one to discuss important matters or to spend free time was 12% (page 18 of Christakis and Fowler 2009). People’s core network size does not vary with gender and tends to decrease with age. Those with a college degree have core networks twice as large as those who do not. The probability that two of your social contacts know each other is about 52% (this is called the transitivity level).


Boyd, R, Gintis, H., Bowles, S., Richardson, P. (2003) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States 100:6 pp  3531–3535 , doi: 10.1073/pnas.0630443100Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Little, Brown & Co. New York
Basic Network Shapes
The shape of our network and our location within it determines the kind of influences we receive and send.

Our Emotional Propagation Network Shapes Us

(July 3, 2022) Our network shapes us by our location within it from our birth order among our siblings to how central we are in the network . The more central we are, the more likely we will be influenced by events occurring elsewhere in the network (Christakis and Fowler 2009).

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 The structure of the network greatly affects how the people within it can make common decisions. The people in a ring network in which each person is connected only to their two neighbors is slower in coming to a decision than a similar ring network having some cross-connected connections. The more cross-connections the faster will be the tribal  decision.

A network of randomly connected people having the same number of people and same average number and degree of interconnections is very much slower than the cross-connected ring network. In one experiment with 38 people the disorganized network took five times longer to reach a collective decision than those in a cross-connected ring network.


Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Little, Brown & Co. New York
Mass hysteria headine
Mass Hysteria is both an emotional propagation phenomena and an assignment of credit phenomena. We tend to assign causes to events based upon our worst fears. Consequently, women have a higher probability of being caught up in this phenomena. The only way to overcome this sort of fear is developing emotional balance and acquiring good theories about how nature works.
(Photo from Asia One of an article briefly describing recent mass hysterias in Singapore. 

Our Fellow Cooperators (Tribal Members) Affect Us

(July 3, 2022) Our tribal members affect us because we subconsciously copy them in order to be seen as belonging to the group of cooperators. Students with studious roommates become more studious, people with overweight friends tend to become overweight and so on. College students assigned a mildly depressed roommate tend to also become increasingly depressed over the next three months. These effects are strongest within the same gender for almost all traits except alcohol consumption in which women have the most influence over both men and other women.​

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This subconscious emotional copy tendency is responsible for epidemic (mass) hysterias. On January 30, 1962 a laughing epidemic started in a girl’s school in Tanzania. By March 18 ninety-five of the 159 were affected and the school was forced to close and the pupils went home to their villages. Ten days later laughing attacks broke out in one of those villages fifty-five miles away where it affected 217 people. Some of the students went to another school and 48 out of 154 students there caught it, forcing that school to close in mid-June. Another outbreak occurred in another one of these girl’s villages on June 18. This outbreak started with her immediate family and spread to two nearby boy’s schools forcing them to close. After a few months the epidemic petered out. The victims described feeling restless and fearful despite their laughter.​

 A review of reported cases of epidemic hysteria between 1973 and 1993 found that 50% took place in schools, 40% in small towns and factories, and 10% in other settings. The outbreaks usually involved at least thirty people but often involved hundreds. Most outbreaks lasted less than two weeks but 20% lasted more than a month. The following passage describes such an epidemic among New York bridge employees:​

Another, more recent case occurred in 1990 among the Triborough Bridge toll employees in New York City. On February 16, workers began to complain of headaches, abdominal discomfort, dizziness, and throat and chest pain. More workers came down with the same symptoms over the next several days, with some of the ill workers noting what they described as a “sweetness” in the air. Symptoms were reported when workers were inside or near a toll booth, but they would subside soon after the worker left the booths. The outbreak ended on February 22, when some of the workers’ superiors sat with them at the tolls. By that time thirty-four workers had become ill enough to go to the hospital, and many others shared their symptoms…. It forced 44 percent of the female workers to go to the hospital, almost twice the proportion of male workers with debilitating symptoms (Christakis. & Fowler 2009 p 44).

The mind abhors a vacuum so people are motivated to assign a cause or blame for various events even in the absence of hard evidence. The authors go on to say:

In a bygone era, demons and witchcraft were often seen as causes of these symptoms, but today toxic chemicals and environmental contamination are the triggers subjects usually identify (Christakis. & Fowler 2009 p 41).

Social network scientists have theorized an evolutionary purpose for this sort of subconscious emotional propagation. This same reasoning is valid when applied to the evolutionary purpose for conscious experiences:​

Early humans had to rely on one another for survival. Their interactions with the physical environment (weather, landscape, predators) were modulated or affected by their interactions with their social environment. Humans bonded with others in order to face the world more effectively, and mechanisms evolved to support this bonding, most obviously verbal communication but also emotional mimicry. The development of emotions in humans, the display of emotions, and the ability to read the emotions of others helped coordinate group activity by three means: Facilitating interpersonal bonds, synchronizing behavior, and communicating information…Emotions may be a quicker way to convey information about the environment and its relative safety or danger than other forms of communication, and it seems emotions preceded language. What emotions lack in specificity compared to oral language, they may make up for in speed (Christakis. & Fowler 2009 p 36).​

This evolutionary advantage idea is supported by studies of yawning in chimps and bonobos. Yawning is best propagated within kinship groups and close friends when it is started by a high ranking social member (Demuru and Palagi 2012). Yawning is the social group rest signal.


Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Little, Brown & Co. New York
Demuru, E. & Palagi, E. (2012) In “Bonobos Yawn Contagion Is Higher among Kin and Friends.” PLoS ONE, 7 (11): e49613 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049613
Stanley Milgram's classic sidewalk experiment
Stanley Milgram's classic sidewalk experiment showed the effect of social amplification on emotional propagation. The effect started to plateau after five people looked up which is about the maximum number  of people which can cooperate without formal authority recognition.

Our Friend’s Friends Affect Us

(July 3, 2022) More than just our friends affect us, our friend’s friend’s friends affect us. Our tendency to imitate is strong enough that an emotional influence will propagate through the network and even work its way back to the originator in a feedback effect. This phenomena is called the Law of Attraction or the Law of Return.

 Some influences depend upon amplification from a number of people. The classic example is Stanley Milgram’s 1968 New York sidewalk experiment. If one person looked up at a window for one minute 4% of passers-by stopped and looked up and 42% looked up but kept walking. If fifteen people looked up then 40% stopped and looked and 86% looked up but kept walking. If five people were used instead of fifteen the result was almost as strong.

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 In a sampling of about 12,000 people from Framingham, Massachusetts in the year 2000, researchers found that happy people were clustered together and were separated from unhappy people who also clustered among themselves (Christakis. & Fowler 2009 p 50). The unhappy people existed in the more peripheral regions of this city’s social network indicating they were more disconnected.

 The initial impetus for this clustering would seem to be the homophily effect because happiness does have a large genetic component. In comparisons with identical twins the general feeling of happiness was found to be 50% genetic, 10% due to personal circumstances (education, income level, marital status, etc.), and 40% due to other things such as one’s own habits of mind and social network situation (Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, & Schkade, 2005).


Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Little, Brown & Co. New York
Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K.M., & Schkade, D. (2005) Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9:111-131
A large emotional/spiritual network
A large emotional/spiritual network. People come and go but the network remains.

The Network has a Life of its Own

(July 3, 2022) Because of the Law of Attraction effect, emotional influences injected into the emotional propagation network continue to reverberate around for some time even if the originator dies or moves away. The stickiness of emotions in networks has not been well researched yet although those cultural based emotions used for defining the  tribe seem to be more sticky than others. These include such things as "proper" behavior and who or what is identified as the "proper" authorities.

The persistence of emotional effects in the network is similar too but not quite the same as the idea of karma in the Buddhist religion and grace in the Christian Catholic religion. Both concepts are defined in dualist, judgemental terms. If a person does "good" things so that the person has more good than bad karma or grace then that person will be reincarnated in a better earthly position (Buddhist) or gain everlasting life and go to heaven (Catholic).

 In contract, the emotions in the Law of Attraction only become good or evil depending on the standard used to define those terms. Killing someone in a war to protect yourself, nation or family is considered to be good while killing someone on a local street is considered to be bad. Emotions in and of themselves are neither good or bad.


Christakis, N.A. and Fowler J.H (2009) Connected, How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends’ Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do. Little, Brown & Co. New York
Swiss psychologist Carl Jung
An image of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875-1961) along with an important quote (one of many) from him.
Viktor Frankl was a Jewish Psychiatrist from Vienna, Austria who survived the Holocaust of WW2. From his observations he noticed those people with a purpose tended to survive at a greater rate than others. He published his findings in an important 1946 book entitled "Man's Search for Meaning." Creating this book was his purpose.
“As we said before, any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal. Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” could be the guiding motto for all psychotherapeutic and psychohygienic efforts regarding prisoners.
Whenever there was an opportunity for it, one had to give them a why — an aim — for their lives, in order to strengthen them to bear the terrible how of their existence. Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that? (Man's Search for Meaning, 1946)

Law of Attraction/Return as Synchronicity

(July 3, 2022) Law of Attraction is also described by the observation of  Synchronicity by psychiatrist Carl Jung.

The word “synchronicity” was defined by pioneer Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung as the meaningful coincidence of two or more events. He first mentioned it in his 1930 memorial address for Richard Wilhelm, the translator of the Chinese “I Ching”, or “Book of Changes.” Jung was seeking to explain the workings of “I Ching,” which he first came across during the early 1920's in an English translation by James Legge (1882).  I-Ching means "Classic of Changes" and it is an ancient Chinese text explaining a number based divination scheme. Its earliest part dates to about 900 BCE

Jung fully developed the synchronicity idea in his 1952 essay “Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle.”​ Yet Jung's explanation of synchronicity is seriously flawed.

 Jung did not accept the idea of a separate realm of consciousness nor did he know about the concept of imprecise probabilities (two dimensions of uncertainty instead of one) which underlies quantum mechanics. Consequently, he tried to explain synchronicity in terms of  quantum mechanics because it was something new and crazy. He called the inherent probabilistic causality of quantum mechanics "acausal." This is how Jung introduced the concept in his essay:

The philosophical principle that underlies our conception of natural law is causality. But if the connection between cause and effect turns out to be only statistically valid and only relatively true, then the causal principle is only of relative use for explaining natural processes and therefore presupposes the existence of one or more other factors which would be necessary for an explanation. This is as much as to say that the connection of events may in certain circumstances be other than causal, and requires another principle of explanation.
We shall naturally look round in vain in the macrophysical world for acausal events, for the simple reason that we cannot imagine events that are connected non-causally and are capable of a non-causal explanation. But that does not mean that such events do not exist. Their existence- or at least their possibility- follows logically from the premise of statistical truth.