Date: Wed, 01 Apr 1998 15:48:02
From: Josip Pajk <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Good vs. Bad Guys
At 12:31 31.03.98 -0500, Chris Turner wrote:
>I wonder how many of you folks have taken
>a serious look at general-semantics as a discipline?
I wonder how many of us have taken a serious look at the last two chapters of the Dawkins`s memetic "Bible", and have UNDERSTOOD the extents of Axelrod/Hamilton`s work on the "prisoners dilemma". Why the "good guys" (strategies) do so well in a rigid "genetic" (natural) environment, but the "net worth" of real human players in the same game is regularly poor? Dawkins addressed this fact to human "envy" which "force" them to gain from the game more than the opponent and to play the "treason" card, transforming the "prisoners dilemma" in a zero-sum game.
Nature is still the Bank in our case, and we are all prisoners of the Bank. The end of the game (the shadow of the future) is far enough and we are not (yet) genetically forced to play the "treason" card to survive. Why are we doing so?***
Look at any "serious" discussion about economics, for example. There is no word about cooperation, support, or similar issues. Instead of that, new "economics samurais" are citing Miamoto Musashi, Sun Tse, Klausevitz and other military strategists preaching the best way to defeat the "enemy" in the battle for new markets. Is this really the only way of "engineering" our future, or is the point here missed completely?
Or, for example, look at our discussions. We are not searching for terms upon which we can agree, but are looking instead for the "week points" in someone`s statement that can be attacked. Instead of thinking how to "improve" someone`s structure (like the AmerIndian society before the discover of the continent) to be "compatible" with ours, isn`t it better to put the question "how can your structure help us (me) to build (improve) a common structure which will be acceptable for us all?", or, as Dawkins would say, "how can we scratch each others back".
I am pretty sure that this discussion of mine will provoke "counter attacks" like "you are endorsing the socialistic/communistic model of equality, and do not see the benefits of competition". I`m not endorsing anything else except the idea that many NATURAL things (models of behaviour) like the one discovered by Axelord and Hamilton which genetic purposefulness was explained by Dawkins, are already present in our environment. All we have to do is to recognize and UNDERSTAND them. When we manage to do this, there will be no need for extensive "memetic engineering" in order to apply them in our behaviour, because we are already "genetically programmed" to accept them.
In other words, I believe that we are genetic "good guys" but that our so far primitive "memetic engineering" brought us to the point that we are forced to play the role of "bad guys" in order to survive in this "synthetic" memetic environment we produced during our cultural evolution. As "cognitively sophisticated beings" I believe we can make an effort to UNDERSTAND why and how it happened, in order to get this misled evolutionary path back on it`s "natural" course.
***One of the possible explanations that passes through my mind now would be that we are more concerned about our survival as individuals (limited lifetime, the "game" could be finished any minute) than with the survival of mankind as a species.
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