Re: Pursuit of Happiness and Genetic Fitness

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Fri 30 May 2003 - 02:51:22 GMT

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    At 10:50 AM 29/05/03 -0400, you wrote:
    >The pursuit of happiness is, in most cases, probably counter productive from
    >a genetic standpoint. The only kinds of pleasure that directly serve
    >genetic interests are those derived from sex, childbirth, and childcare. If
    >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.

    Indirectly an awful amount of what we do is linked to our genetic interest. Consider Henry Kissinger's comment about power.

    >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 education
    >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.

    Again, this may be the case for some things we do today, but our genes were not selected in the current environment. I don't see how evolution could shape what we enjoy not to serve direct or indirect genetic interest.

    >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.

    Among other good reasons, there never was an innocent past, and humans have been dependent on memes since we replaced sharp teeth with sharpened rocks. As far as getting rid of memes, how much good would your computer be with no application programs?

    Keith Henson

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