Re: Memetic trapping and wars.

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Mon 07 Jul 2003 - 14:23:29 GMT

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    At 09:31 AM 07/07/03 -0400, you wrote:

    >On Sunday, July 6, 2003, at 04:53 PM, Keith wrote:
    >>I find it hard to see this social primate psychological trait as a
    >>weakness any more than capture-bonding or attention-reward since it has
    >>been an essential response to attack for millions of years. But it is
    >>clear that this psychological mechanism can *also* be hijacked by cults,
    >>demagogs, and jingoistic "going to war" memes by getting people to feel
    >>like victims.
    >It might be better to discuss such traits as innate behavioral mechanisms
    >rather than psychological, although I admit I'm cleaving thinly.

    The terms "innate behavioral mechanisms" and "evolved psychological traits" are close enough to me that I might have used them interchangeably.

    >But, it is pointedly true that such behavioral mechanisms are 'hijacked'
    >by cultural entities, most markedly cults.

    And I think it is really important for us to understand these mechanism.

    >Jealousy and other barbed and destructive emotions are also vital tools
    >for any 'us-vs-them' manipulations.

    Most of the examples I can think of where jealousy was involved tended to disrupt cults/tribes. I wonder if you could think of some examples?

    >The investigations of primatologists are continually enlightening.


    Keith Henson

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