Re: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Sat Feb 16 2002 - 09:21:29 GMT

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    Subject: Re: draft abstract Sex, Drugs and Cults
    Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 00:21:29 -0900
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    > ---An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective On Why and How Cult Memes Get A
    > Drug-Like Hold On People--and what might be done about it.
    > H. Keith Henson
    > Abstract:
    > In the aggregate, memes constitute human culture. A whole class of memes
    > (cults, religions) have no obvious replication drivers. Why are some
    > humans highly susceptible? To answer this question I digress into
    > evolutionary psychology. There are two major evolved psychological
    > mechanisms emerging from the past to make us susceptible to
    > cults. Capture-bonding exemplified by Patty Hearst and the Stockholm
    > Syndrome is one. Attention reward is the other. Attention is the way
    > social primates measure status. Increasing status is highly
    > rewarding--causes the release of chemicals (dopamine and
    > endorphins). Actions leads to Attention that releases Rewarding brain
    > chemicals. Drugs shortcut Action-Attention-Reward (AAR) brain system and
    > lead to the repeated behavior we refer to as addiction. Gambling and
    > addictive drugs cause misfiring of the AAR pathway. Memes that manifest
    > cults hijack this brain reward system by modifying behavior between cult
    > members to high levels of attention. People may become irresponsible on
    > either cults or drugs resulting in severe damage to reproductive
    > Evolutionary psychology answers the question of why human are susceptible
    > to memes that do them and/or their potential for reproductive success
    > damage. Psychological traits of capture-bonding and attention rewards
    > make us vulnerable evolved for other functions. Cults and drugs both take
    > advantage of the same vital motivational reward pathway. Cults sometimes
    > use capture-bonding. Proposals for modeling are presented.

    That religion and cults can be as addictive as drugs I sussed last year
    reading chapter 14 of the Meme-Machine. It was Marx who said that
    `religion is opium for the people'. Last year I posted an hypothesis on this
    stating that cultural behavior (processing memes) has to be rewarded by the
    because it originally chances of survival. Consequently culture actually
    evolves actually through the grace of our spoiled reward-centers (spoiled
    because they
    have to reward biological activity (sex, feeding, fleeing etc.) as well as
    A downside of having such an active reward center is that it makes us
    prone to develop addictive behavior, be it sex, drugs, alcohol, gambling,
    not eating (boulimia, anorexia).


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