I've discussed this in more detail elsewhere in the subreddit, but the crux of what went wrong is somewhere in the difference between "art" and "propaganda." The problem in distinguishing the two is that both have a point of view; propaganda isn't special in that regard. The criteria for defining propaganda has something to do with the approach to the subject-object problem; you can't really say that the difference between art and propaganda is "Truth." "Truth" is the very thing explored or questioned by art, so it's circular to evaluate art vs propaganda on an assumption about truth.
Two individuals can take the same set of facts and spin opposite "truths" with the use of narrative framing. Perhaps propaganda tells lies with intent to persuade, whereas art tells lies by human fallibility. The problem is that framing is a deliberate (and necessary) choice on the part of the artist, and when the critic comes from a different worldview, he is likely to consider art from his interlocutor as being propaganda, and vice versa.
The difference between propaganda and art is something like the difference between a good and bad faith argument, and an artist's willingness to be proven wrong with a better argument. In science, Popper refers to this as falsification of hypothesis rather than seeking confirmation. Getting into philosophy and sociology of science is a deep rabbit hole; I can go there, but we'll never get back on topic. Suffice to say, I tend to think of art as being science that hasn't been understood well enough to be defined yet, or ever. But that's something else that could be hotly debated.
In any case, "Maps of Meaning," a college textbook, is a cross-cultural study of Ancient myth, and 20th century political ideology, through the lens of evolutionary psychology in an attempt to explain the origins of ideology and why it drives people to war and genocide. The author of that book is extremely qualified to analyze and discuss the psychology of belief systems, in spite of his critics' claims to the contrary. He might be wrong (I don't think he is), but he's certainly not unfounded or ignorant as some have suggested.
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
Also, "Maps of Meaning," by Jordan Peterson, if you want to see how deep the rabbit hole goes on the 12 Rules.
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief https://www.amazon.com/dp/0415922224/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_nDtjDbJM9MPKD
I'm in agreement (for the most part)--historically speaking. I never said that this was purely relegated to China, although the topic of the article is indeed China.
I'll also take this opportunity to remind you about HN commenting guidelines , specifically when disagreeing to try to "reply to the argument", as opposed to calling names--or in your specific case implying emotional states or assumptions on worship.
I will share that I find it unfortunate that you seem generally opposed to Dr. Peterson's works: his Maps of Meaning (1999), for instance, contains powerful ideas that cannot be easily dismissed.
Finally, humans are complex creatures. We can easily find an argument intrinsically stimulating and academically fascinating whilst simultaneously not feeling disillusionment.
It's not so much that history is "about" humans; it only really applies to humans in the first place. To have a history of "elephants" is just to have a history of elephants as understood by humans—unless it's elephants that are communicating it.
The best explanations I've heard of this concept are in Jordan Peterson's Psychological Significance of the Biblical Stories lecture series, available on Youtube here: https://www.amazon.com/Maps-Meaning-Architecture-Jordan-Pete...