poly: Re: A proposed law of human nature

From: <CurtAdams@aol.com>
Date: Tue Nov 10 1998 - 21:29:42 PST

In a message dated 11/10/98 3:26:56 PM, brin@cts.com wrote:

>A Proposed Law of Human Nature: The perceived distance of a threat horizon
>is inversely proportional to the ambient level of fear. Low fear levels do
>NOT cause complacency! We are monkeys -- inveterate worriers.

I think worry is perfectly logical. Whatever the situation, replicators will
tend to create intelligence only if it can be used to improve replication
success. Hence it makes sense for intelligent creations to always try to
use their intelligence to improve things - and hence we always tend to
worry and to be disatisfied, because that makes us work to improve things.

>Low fear
>levels only shift the focus of worry to more distant or theoretical
>threats. If we know for sure our children will have enough to eat, we
>start worrying about our great grandchildren will have enough topsoil to
>grow crops. When the horizon extends as far as your great-great
>grandchildren, your sociobiological self-interest formulae shift toward
>tolerance-altruism and population control, because you will have
>descendants on every continent.

The gene's sociobiological self-interest is always to copy itselves
better than competing alleles in the population. The highly cooperative
nature of humans, IMO, results from that fact that by cooperating with
everyone you meet, you compete better against those you don't meet.
It's still competition, just a pleasant kind. True altruism doesn't
work for the replicator, unless it ends up as part of a mating ritual
or some such.

Memes presumably face analogous selection pressures.

I don't think geographical spread changes the equations much. My
relatives are scattered all over the US, yet I have no difficulty
placing a much higher value on them than on the 250 million +
Americans I don't know.

Sorry to pull out such a small part of your post. Further
exposition of your ideas would be welcome.
Received on Wed Nov 11 05:34:55 1998

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