Re: Pursuit of Happiness and Genetic Fitness

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 29 May 2003 - 22:34:06 GMT

  • Next message: Keith Henson: "Re: Education and Genetics"

    >From: "Reed Konsler" <>
    >To: <>
    >Subject: Pursuit of Happiness and Genetic Fitness
    >Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 10:50:32 -0400
    >The pursuit of happiness is, in most cases, probably counter productive
    >a genetic standpoint. The only kinds of pleasure that directly serve
    >genetic interests are those derived from sex, childbirth, and childcare.
    >you have experience with these, you will agree that each is also fraught
    >with much frustration and suffering. What one focuses on will vary.
    >Pursuit of any other goal, save as a means to the ends above, is a genetic
    >dead end.
    To hell with Schopenhauer! After several pages of the
    _World as Will and Idea_ and Arthur's overt pessimism you'll never smile again.

    Seriously the Kantian dichotomy of appearance and reality may have application here. To Schopenhauer the Idea part was mere appearance and illusory, where the Will was real or "Ding an Sich" in Kant's terminology.

    That education seems beneficial would be an appearance or illusion (thanks to Maya and her veil) that appeals to us, but genetic fitness (or Will?) is the hidden reality obscured by our feeble perception. Our existence is now and fleeting, where Will is forever or quite long lasting like our DNA.

    I could see somebody rewriting Schopenhauer as _World as Gene and Meme_, but I hope it never comes to that :-)

    I've probably botched the heck out of Schopie's philosophical system, since I haven't read him for a while, but hopefully I haven't strayed too far.

    As another aside I find it fascinating that the great fallibist Popper would use Schopenhaeur's vicious assaults upon Hegel's system as a buttress for his anti-Hegelian sections in _Open Society and its Enemies_. Schopenhauer was at his evil best when he was launching *ad hominem* against Hegel.
    >I state this perception only to point out that one shouldn't get too hung
    >up, personally, on the idea of individual genetic fitness (i.e. is
    >a good or bad thing). It would certainly make an interesting research
    >project, but the ultimate conclusion, I believe, would be that just about
    >everything we enjoy isn't serving a direct genetic interest.
    Things appear as if in our interest but in reality...
    >That is probably an indication of just how dependent we have become on
    >memes. It's unlikely that one could become "disinfected" and, if so, what
    >would be the result? Returning to the Garden isn't something that seems
    >very desirable to me.
    Did memes bring "The Fall" upon us?

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