Re: FW: England humour

From: Dace (
Date: Fri Sep 07 2001 - 18:34:53 BST

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    Subject: Re: FW: England humour
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    > Phil wrote:
    > > <There must be some sociological reason for
    > > > people taking up arms like that since they are prevalent all
    > > > over the globe. Perhaps it's an expression
    > > > of our natural lust for (tribal) warfare (survival of the
    > > > fittest, the `it's either him or me' attitude) when we're
    > > > lacking it now through modern-day society's inhibiting action
    > > > (law, ethics, social control, etc.)
    > > > It's seems to be our biological drive for animosity
    > > > still calling the cards. Jerks from tucked away,
    > > > long `forgotten' vestiges of brutal ancestry? >
    > Vince wrote:
    > > I vaguely remember Richard Wright in 'The Moral Animal'
    > > talking about this kind of thing as one of the big problems for
    > > psychology. Through kin selection it's reasonably straightforward to
    > > understand aggression towards non-family, and there's always
    > > reciprocal alturism to explain nice behaviour to non-family,
    > > but the capacity of humans to unite as units like fans of the
    > > same football team, or as part of an ideological "nation"
    > > ( in other words one that is more a construction than
    > > being rooted in distinct ethnic/religious/geographical
    > > origins, so nations like America or Australia I suppose;
    > > although all nations are ideological in one sense or
    > > another- Anderson's Imagined Community), doesn't seem to fit
    > > into a simple e.p. explanation.
    > Hi Vincent,
    > I'd defend this:
    > People cluster together as they're social animals who are better
    > off living in a team. In the game of survival group forming is
    > essential to increase odds of survival. Neighboring groups are
    > simply considered as competitors and actually more-ore-less
    > are feared as they fight over the same resources. I stick to
    > the idea that aggression is always preceded by fear.
    > > A gap here for memes to exploit? Genes drive kin selection, Memes
    > > drive (some aspects/kinds of) nationalism?
    > Nice angle...
    > I'd say this:
    > When it comes to nations. Culture has to be accounted for, as
    > every nation has it's own peculiar set of customs, traditions,
    > idealogies, and other memes. Memes seem to either divide (war)
    > and unite (social clustering) thus increasing the gap between
    > nations further. This is testified by the numerous
    > conflicts fought over religion and polical idealogies,
    > for instance. When you've adopted a meme inherent to some
    > group/nation you're cool, you're one of them; if you don't
    > you're considered a potential threat. Religion is based on
    > this type of intolerance. When identified with the (honor o/t)
    > nation, soccer can be war, only a small, quasi and
    > insignificant one.
    > Phil.

    Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War, by Barbara
    Ehrenreich, Metropolitan Books, 1997.

    That's the book you're looking for, Phil. If you want an explanation,
    you'll find it there.

    I'll just say a couple things about it. Ehrenreich points out that the
    evidence for warfare goes back 12,000 years. That's it. Prior to that, we
    just don't find any evidence, no cave drawings of soldiers, no spear points
    embedded in bones of humans, no tools clearly intended for battle...
    nothing. She quite sensibly abandons the biological approach for a
    psychological explanation. There must have been a trauma prior to 12,000
    years ago that set off our need to band together and kill. She identifies
    the trauma as predation by wild animals, such as lions, tigers, bears,
    wolves, etc. For all of our history up until 12 to 15 thousand years ago,
    humans were quite commonly catfood. We are the only species ever to have
    made the transition from prey to predator. But the trauma remains with us
    to this day. So we keep helplessly acting out our transformation from a
    cowering victim into a mighty predator. We imagine we're under attack from
    some dastardly enemy. Then we pull together as a team and fight it off,
    demonstrating that now we're the top dog. She notes that love and
    collective joy are just as important to war as fear and hate. It doesn't
    tear communities apart but brings them together. (Of course, these days
    you're more likely to see our universal trauma re-enacted in a stadium than
    a battlefield.)

    Ehrenreich also deals with the origins of religion and ritual sacrifice in
    this book. Really fascinating. And very well received when it came out.


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