RE: On the origin of .... war

From: Philip Jonkers (
Date: Wed Sep 19 2001 - 15:59:39 BST

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    Subject: RE: On the origin of .... war
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    > <Ehrenreich deals with this in Blood Rites. Once warfare got
    > started, it
    > > must have rapidly spread. If another tribe is attacking you, you
    > must
    > > fight
    > > back or gradually be destroyed. But to fight back is to begin
    > learning
    > > the
    > > war ethic, at which point you're liable to turn around and attack
    > another
    > > tribe that still hasn't learned.>

    > If a tribe doesn't fight back it gets wiped out. Tribes that fight
    > back may survive. A bit too much social darwinism perhaps, but that is
    > a basic principle.

    Hi Ted & Vincent,

    War as a evolutionary katalyst/accelerant (English?) filtering out the
    more lovable and friendly tribes and keeping the more aggressive and
    vigorous bands, I can live with that bloody heritage...
    I think I'll better check out that book by Ehrenreich then...
    > <It makes no sense for us to war with each other when we could be
    > cooperating.>

    > But what if the other party won't cooperate? The Prisoner's Dilemma
    > suggests that 'tit for tat' is the best strategy- i.e. if they
    > cooperate,
    > you cooperate and you both win, but if they don't cooperate you lose
    > either
    > way, so it's better to then not cooperate either to show you won't be
    > over-run. Have a read of Robert Axelrod's 'The Evolution of
    > Co-operation'
    > (I think that's what it's called).

    I should add that cooperation is limited by the limitedness of resources.
    If resources were unlimited, endless cooperation would be feasible. Since they
    are not, those who are most successful in claiming them have the
    highest chances for survival. Cooperation will be limited to alliances
    of tribes who mutually benefit from eachother's cooperation. If there is
    too much difference in power between two parties cooperating (one party being
    parasitic) sooner or later this will causes fatal fission of the alliance;
    I guess one might call this type of cooperation: social symbioses.

    > <That apes engage in a sort of proto-warfare in no way suggests that
    > > organized violence is instinctive among humans.>

    > That's like saying "that chimps and humans share 98% of genes in no
    > way suggests a common ancestor".

    Well not exactly, I have to agree with Ted. The instinctive proto-warfare
    might lie in precisely those 2% that separate us from apes.
    Genes are tricky business.
    However, I do acknowledge human's inherently temperate and
    violent nature; of course we have to, otherwise we wouldn't be
    here after millions of years of selecting out the most vigorous specimen.
    Systematic and organised violence, on the other hand, seems to suggest a
    cultural origin since some type of communication (language) is needed to
    orchestrate collective raids and other types of warfare.
    Did humans evolve languages prior to 10,000 BC?


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