Re: Looking for a name.

From: Keith Henson (
Date: Thu 25 Mar 2004 - 01:54:38 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: Looking for a name."

    At 04:55 PM 24/03/04 -0500, you wrote:

    >Keith wrote:
    >>All of this is true, a battered wife has not been captured in the same
    >>sense as a primitive tribal woman. People undergoing fraternity hazing
    >>or B&D are not captured in the same sense either. That's not my
    >>point. My claim is that the same relatively simple psychological
    >>mechanism to bond with a captor/abuser is being turned on--and that
    >>tribal capture-bonding is the evolutionary origin of this trait.
    >But why not primate joining-a-new-troop stuff - it has got a longer
    >evolutionary history, and probably is the precursor of what you are
    >talking about.

    Baboons are just to remote to have much applicability.

    With chimpanzees about half the females leave their natal group. They do so at a time they are sexually receptive. That is the ticket for them being accepted into a new territory. As such things go it is relatively low stress.

    For captured human women it is a very different story, extreme stress, ranging up to having the rest of their family killed in front of them. And while there are few (if any) cases known where captured women did not socially reorient, that probably reflects extreme outcomes (death or failure to reproduce) for those who failed to capture-bond "properly" in the past.


    >> It is a testament to the societal value of reciprocation that we have
    >> chosen to fight the Krishnas mostly by seeking to avoid rather than to
    >> withstand the force of their gift giving. The reciprocity rule that
    >> empowers their tactic is too strong-and socially beneficial-for us to
    >> want to violate it."
    >This is my point exactly, that there are some behaviors which are so
    >crucial to our functioning as social animals that although they may come
    >with a price tag, their benefits to the *group* outweighs that cost
    >(welfare is my case in point). It may not always be to your benefit to
    >get trapped in this reciprocity thing, but it is to your benefit to live
    >in a group with these behaviors.

    Phrasing this in gene centered terms, it is a high advantage to live in a group. (If you think about it, humans who live entirely in isolated groups of one don't pass on any genes at all.) But if you do live in a cooperative group, you have to be alert for freeloaders. That means you have to put out signals that you are not a freeloader, and (along with others) punish any in the group who are taking advantage of living in the group but not doing their share. Recent research found humans have a psychological trait to punish those who take too much even when it is expensive.

    >These kinds of pro-social behaviors are what many of my evolution-loving
    >friends overlook when they got into some of their "survival of the
    >fittest" discussions. And where I disagree with a lot of right-wing
    >conservative thinkers.

    Social animals are still subject to evolution including "survival of the fittest." But what you need to do to *be* fit is complicated by being a social animal. It doesn't matter how good a fighter you, if the women won't have anything to do with you, your genes are not fit. And from what we see in the few primitive tribes that are left is that the things people do that benefit of the tribe are *also* benefiting their genes. Like the hunter that drags back half a ton of meat. Everybody eats well and he gets
    "extra pair copulations" along with the obligation of other hunters to feed his family when they are lucky.

    >I wonder if sociopaths would feel these same constraints - or if they
    >might not take the Krisha's book and walk away, punch you in the head even
    >if you lied and said you didn't take their stuff, and refuse to let you
    >make your copies.

    Good points. I hope someone is mining this mailing list for projects.

    Keith Henson

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