A reader suggests the following potential replacements for Wolfe's important concept that "Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles."
Hopefully one of these buzzwords for "fiction absolute" might pull it off:
This little insight would explain much about why Black-American media culture so adamantly condemns assimilated, by-the-book blacks as "acting white". If a critical mass of blacks decides to abide by the White egocosmos, it will damage the credibility of its black counterpart, and thus compell (eventually) blacks to accept being in second place in the dominant paradigm. Thus where going by the book might be the better individual strategy, the preservation of group vanity requires the instillment of an alternative paradigm reflecting the endowments of African-Americans, where they come in first and whites in second.
Any other suggestions?
I think that 'egocosmos' takes it. A nice, smooth neologism that emphasizes the rootedness of the social myth in the inner urges, anxieties, and will-to-power of the subjects.
Thinking about Wolfe's idea, I like the terms "group primacy," "club primacy," or to come at it differently "The Perfect Circle." It could be given a more scientific note if we Latinzed it "Orbis Superbia."
What the heck is "hypeomology?"
"Ideal type" I know, Max Weber used it in another sense, but since it has zero recognition in the general culture I say it is open.
How about three-word phrases? This isn't an easy concept to get across, so maybe we should try being a little more expansive.
"Tribal" is very good. "Narcissism" is close, but it sounds too self-contained, too aloof, whereas this phenomenon is more competitive, more relative, more needing to put other groups down to promote your own.
"Vanity" pays tribute to Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities," although there Wolfe was using "vanity," I would assume, in the sense of Ecclesiastes and/or Savonarola, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity," rather than in the more contemporary sense of egotistical.
I think Wolfe is drawing an analogy to Kant's philosophically sophisticated version of the Golden Rule, the Categorical Imperative, which says "Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it would become a universal law." (Another version: "Act so that the maxim ... may be capable of becoming a universal law for all rational beings.")
Wolfe's "fiction-absolute" is the evil twin of the categorical imperative: "Each individual adopts a set of values which, if truly absolute in the world--so ordained by some almighty force--would make not that individual but his group . . . the best of all possible groups, the best of all inner circles." In other words, "Act so that if the maxim became a universal law for all rational beings, your group must be seen as best."
So, maybe some term calling attention to the contrast with Kant's categorical imperative might help, such as "competitive imperative." I kind of like "tribal competitive imperative."