Applied Cultural Selection challenge

Aaron Agassi (
Mon, 12 Jul 1999 03:36:10 -0400

From: "Aaron Agassi" <>
To: <>
Subject: Applied Cultural Selection challenge
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 03:36:10 -0400

When I was asked if I was dealing with something best discussed privately, I
thought that I was simply being offered consideration for my own privacy, at
my own comfort and discretion. It did not occur to me that anyone else might
be more easily squeamish. Or at least, I hoped not. Because the bad guys are
always banking on the timidity of others.

Hello, anybody there???

"The best organized groups vanquished the poorly organized groups."
Thus does Agner Fog summarize the point of an essay by the British economist
Walter Bagehot in The Fortnightly in 1867, excerpted in chapter 2 of
'Cultural Selection', 'The history of cultural selection theory'.

"While Darwin was dealing with the survival of the fittest, [the
anthropologist Edward B.] Tylor was more concerned with the survival of the
unfit. The existence of outdated institutions and customs, which no longer
had any usefulness, were Tylor's best proof that modern society had evolved
from a more primitive condition." Such outdated institutions and customs
tend to descend from and retain the characteristics of what the prominent
English Philosopher Herbert Spencer classified as militant societies,
characterized by a strong monopoly of power to which the population must
submit. "Any war or threat of war necessitates the formation of alliances
and establishment of a strong central government." But, just as Thomas
Payne, American Revolutionary author of 'Common Sense' recognized, even when
not even remotely necessary, militant social cohesion remains advantageous
for the success of all manner of opportunistic piracy and terrorism.
-especially, I might add, at it's most petty and hypocritically covert. This
obstructs the emergence of a more open society, which depends very much upon
the diffusion of it's values, that are rejected by dark forces of militant
social cohesion.

My Applied Memetics challenge, reframed as an Applied Cultural Selection
challenge, is to devise and to disseminate better organizational/networking
and self defensive memes for what Agner Fog terms kalyptic society, tolerant
towards individual initiatives, particularly sexual advances. This will
encourage competition from which may arise better sex as a motivator towards
more effective and viable Decentralization.

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