I think this wonderfully evokes a point which may be off the radar, namely, that 'ritual' or whatever you call it (the possibility for group aesthetic experiences) is all around us in society. It permeates everything, it is all pervasive. I think that is true.
Choose the ritual that is right for you... not because it is most moving or pretty, but because it is the most true as far as you can discern.
A tangential point: It seems to me that aesthetic questions, questions of art, beauty, poetry, and the place of literature while occasionally mentioned are Less Wrong's greatest blind spot. To recall Hamlet, it seems to me that there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your rationality. Perhaps there are questions which we are not ready to discuss, which is fine. We don't necessarily need to attack the immense, perhaps incommensurable, differences between the aesthetic morality of people-who-think-they-think-rationally, us.
Vaniver, I really appreciate the rigor you are bringing to this discussion. The OP struck me as very deliberative-utilitarian as well. If we want to account (or propagate) for a shared human morality, than certainly, it must be rational. But it seems to me, that the long history of searching for a rational-basis-for-morality clearly points away from the well trodden ground of this utilitarianism.
From Plato and Aristotle to the Enlightenment until Nietzsche (especially to the present day), it seems the project of accounting for morality as though it were an inherent attribute of humanity, expressible through axioms and predetermined by the universe, is a bunk and, perhaps even, an irrational project. Morality, I think can only be shared, if you have a shared goal for winning life.
A complete description of values requires a discussion on what makes life worth living and what is a good life, or more simply goals. Without the tools to determine and rationalize what are good goals for me, I will never be able to make a map of morality and choose the values and virtues relevant to me on my quest.
Does that jive?
Perhaps, if I am in town,. I will certainly be there. But I probably don't get in town until the 13th.
You seem to be using the word 'religion' when you are more specifically talking about Platonism, right?
Yes it does need be so. Precisely because numbers are an abstraction of the world around us, an abstraction which we as wonderful human beings have advanced into a more and more sophisticated abstraction for many years, they reflect (if that is the right word) the world around us.
It is not "the unprecedented success of math," but of man.