From: Keith Henson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri 29 Oct 2004 - 13:37:50 GMT
At 08:59 AM 29/10/04 +0100, Alan wrote:
> > The new idea I have been examining is that the kind of memes that spreads
> > well depends on the condition, particularly the psychological condition,
> > the population that is host to the meme.
>This is what I would assume would be the case........the environment affects
>the receptivity to various meme types.
>Hmmmm....I wonder if it works like a feedback loop?
Like all animals, humans have the ability to fill the environment to
capacity and then some. Since the human line had no significant predators
(since we started chipping rocks) when population exceeded the ecological limit, we had to be our own predators.
Since we are deeply social primates, that meant we did it groups, i.e.,
war. Our relatives the chimps do something rather similar, carrying out
genocide against neighboring groups. Our equally close relatives the
bonobos have not been observed organizing killing parties. It is not clear
how bonobo numbers are controlled. But for us, looming privation --> high
circulation of xenophobic memes --> war --> reduced population --> better
prospects --> rational (non war) memes prevail --> buildup in population
-->> looming privation.
Someone want to set this to music? (_Where Have All The Flowers Gone?_)
Now, for reasons that are *not* clearly understood the women in at least
some human populations/cultures strongly limit the number of children they
have,--given enough wealth and the technology to do so. This is not
predictable since such humans are living far out of their EEA. But as EO
Wilson put it, we are extremely lucky.
In some parts of the world (particularly Europe and now Asia) the low birth
rate and a faster-than-the-birth-rate increase in wealth due to high
technology has kept us out of wars between groups in contact for several
decades. This doesn't entirely prevent wars because a population can be
switched into war mode by being attacked.
Unfortunately, this knowledge does not lead to easy solutions (though you
can understand why Northern Ireland backed out of their mess--some 30 years
ago the birth rate fell by about half).
Take Iraq. You could get the population out of war mode if you were able
to massively improved the economic situation there. I think those in
warrior mode have an instinctive feel for what they are doing and they are
making the economic situation bad on purpose since it leads to more support.
The situation there will go on for a generation or more without some
radical cure such as disease wiping out a substantial fraction of the
population. Eventually things will have been so bad so long that war mode
will decay and switch off on some minor up tick. Once the economy has been
down long enough for any improvement to look good, it will go into positive
feedback. (Like Lebonon.)
The alternative would be to swap out the Iraq population for
westerners. Taken out of Iraq to places where they can get jobs, the
electricity is on all day and they don't have to worry about car bombs,
xenophobic memes would rapidly decay in the vast majority of them.
It's not an impossible task. Large as it is, the population of Iraq could
be absorbed into western countries, particularly the US. There is nothing
wrong with the country, a western population would make it one of the
richest places in the world in short order. Offer them 5 years of no
taxes, and I bet you could get more volunteers going there then you
needed. There is plenty of excess airliner capacity to do the job in 6
months to a year.
The idea is crazy. The only question is: Is it crazy *enough*?
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