[extropy-chat] Hating versus Loving

Keith Henson hkhenson at rogers.com
Mon Dec 18 21:23:10 UTC 2006

At 05:58 PM 12/16/2006 -0800, you wrote:

>--- Keith Henson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
> >
> > I am about as far from being a Bush fan as you can
> > get.
> >
> > Yet from an EP viewpoint, he is the correct sort of
> > leader for a tribe that
> > feels they are under attack.  I.e., irrational, or
> > if you don't want to use
> > that word, "the thinking impaired state induced by
> > xenophobic memes."
>Bush is indeed the correct tribal leader for a group
>of Neanderthals under attack by rival cavemen in the
>stone age. In a modern world of intricately linked
>ecomomies, weapons of mass destruction, and global
>energy shortage, he is the worst possible leader. That
>EP seems to explain WHY he was elected certainly does
>not make him the right leader. Just the one that
>cavemen would want, not civilized men.

The mismatch between the EEA and later environments can be an utter 
disaster.  One such disaster depopulated almost all of the Colorado plateau 
of corn farmers.  (Their response to war was to concentrate and move into 
forts, but that put too much of their farm land out of reach, which kept 
them in privation, which kept them in wars . . . .)

Humans are kept alive by high technology infrastructure at levels 10 to 100 
times higher than they could live without the infrastructure.  Wars that 
destroy the infrastructure will kill billions by starvation alone.

> > "Our way of life" is far more dependant on an
> > economy growing faster than
> > the population and relatively low cost energy.  I
> > would far rather see
> > nanotube/space elevator/solar power satellites being
> > developed or lot of
> > high temp nuclear reactors being installed than Bush
> > being impeached.
> >
> > (Though impeaching Bush for lying the US into a war
> > is a good idea too.)
>This late into his presidency, I think impeachment
>would not be cost effective. It would be far more
>efficient at this point to let him serve out his term
>and then bring criminal and civil charges against him
>and his crew afterwards. That is if he actually steps
>down from the presidency. If ever there was a
>president that had the gall to try to install himself
>as a permanent dictator, it would be Dubya.

I agree, but considering what the military thinks of him, that is really 
unlikely to happen.

>If he is so willing to disregard the Bill of Rights
>then him disregarding term limits is not out of the
>As far as the energy crisis goes, I don't see how all
>of his expenditure of resources did a bit of good. The
>amount of oil and dollars he will need to burn, to
>kill all his "insurgents" does not make what's under
>the ground there worth it.

That depends on what you consider the oil to be worth in human lives.

>So long as there are
>insurgents, they can't drill for oil. The insurgents
>would rather see it all burn than give him one drop of


>Where is the ROI on this fool's bet? Iraq has maybe 20
>years of oil. Less if everybody in China buys an SUV.
>For a trillion dollars, you could probably have had
>cold fusion, warp drive, and an exoplanet to aim it
>at. But instead of EXPLORING like we ought to have, we
>had to listen to our genes instead of our brains and
>give a caveman the "nucular" football.

My personal bias is nanotube cable to GEO.  If you *can* do that (and the 
answer is not obvious) then we can tap vast amounts of solar energy, enough 
to displace all the coal burning power plants and probably the nuke plants 
as well.

> > An alternative is to kill (by starvation for
> > example) a few hundred million
> > Arabs and take the oil in that region.  I really
> > don't like saying it, but
> > a Bush type leader is what you need for something
> > like this.
>No. Absolutely not. Even if I wanted all out war with
>the Arabs (and I don't), I wouldn't want Bush in
>charge of it. He has no concept of HOW to best fight a

You are not thinking deep enough.  The function of war is to kill the other 
tribe, of course, but it is also to kill off a lot of your own people.  Any 
idiot can go that.  You don't want someone who thinks about what they are 

>The fact that he started a war with NO exit
>strategy, tells me he hasn't the first clue of HOW to
>use the military. There are senior officers (who
>majored in warfare in military academies mind you)
>telling him it's an "un-winnable war".

Only if you stay inside of "politically correct."  I can think of at least 
a dozen ways to "win" the war as long as you don't mind the US displacing 
Nazi Germany as the prime example of barbaric behavior.

>Of course there
>are kiss-asses telling him different, but they just
>want to get promoted. And he is too egotistical to
>tell the difference.

The technical name is "guru trap."

> > >Without hate, Rome WOULD not have destroyed
> > Carthage.
> > >But did not Carthage hate Rome just as much? Why
> > did
> > >hate serve one and not the other? Hate is the most
> > >treacherous of all emotions. It makes you *feel*
> > >invincible and beligerent all the way up to point
> > >where you run up against someone stronger.
> >
> > You are exactly on target here, but you need to take
> > it a little further,
> > namely back to the stone age.  Why do we have hate
> > if if makes us so crazy?
>Because it served us well as hunter-gatherers. In the
>agrarian age, it held its own.

In one case, the southwest corn farmers, it killed almost the entire 
population.  See Prehistoric Warfare in the American Southwest by Steven A. 
Leblanc.  Privation put them into war mode, the response they made of 
moving into forts forced them to abandon much of their farmland.  That kept 
them in war mode till 23 of 27 groups died.  The few who were left were 
still in war mode when the Spanish arrived hundreds of years later.

>In the nuclear age, it will be our downfall.

It isn't clear.  The smoke from bomb blasts in the mid east might help 
offset global warming.  (This is not PC of course.)

> > You have to look at this "feature" from the
> > viewpoint of genes in the stone
> > age.
> >
> > Population growth eventually resulted in a bleak
> > future where it was
> > obvious the tribe was going to starve.  So genes get
> > selected that detect
> > this condition approaching and turn up the gain on
> > xenophobic (hate)
> > memes.  Eventually the warriors get hyped up to a do
> > or die attack on
> > neighbors.
>That is why a warrior's mind must be disciplined. You
>cannot trust a sword to an undiciplined mind, let
>alone a nuke. Warriors can't afford hate. Hate will
>cause them to be rash, fall for traps, die, and lose
>the cause. Warriors need calm cold reasoning.

If the point is to win, yes.  If the point is mainly to burn off excess 
population, any bozo can charge machine guns.

> > I make the case that this was better for genes *even
> > for those genes in the
> > tribe that lost.*  Even if all the males in a tribe
> > were killed, copies of
> > their genes existed in the young women who were
> > usually booty and were
> > incorporated into the tribe that killed all the men
> > folk.
>Genes are pretty darn stupid.

Ultimately they are rational in the sense of having a goal and succeeding.

>That is why brains that generate minds evolved from them.

That's not exactly the way to put it.  Genes build brains, brains host minds.

>Genes take generations to change.

Fewer than I thought if there is a high enough advantage.  See the article 
on lactose genes arising in different human lines.

>A mind can change in the space of a heartbeat.

You are correct here and it is why animals have fast reacting brains in 
spite of the large metabolic cost.

>The whole evolutionary advantage to
>minds is that they can change quickly. But if minds
>can't over-rule genes, then what's the point of having

Before you can do so, you need to know what psychological traits genes have 
built into you.  I can tell you why people post for example.  Do you know?

> > The subjects you discuss here are complicated beyond
> > what I can respond to
> > in a reasonable time.  But you really should try to
> > recast them in light of
> > understanding EP.
>Oh I understand EP. I just don't find it very useful.
>It's less useful than either evolution or psychology
>are separately. What a caveman should think of
>blackholes, is trivial.

I don't get the above paragraph.  I find EP to be extremely useful of 
extremely unsettling.

> > >You think so huh? Then why did the Lord of Hate end
> > >his days in a bunker abandoned by all, hating even
> > >himself enough to put a bullet in his own brain?
> >
> > I think the bad guys of history need to be
> > reconsidered in the light of
> > EP.  When there exist a widespread belief in a
> > population that there is a
> > need to slaughter neighbors or some sub group in
> > their population, then
> > people like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot will rise to
> > leadership.  In some
> > ways it isn't their fault.  If Hitler had been born
> > plus or minus 20 years
> > from when he was, we never would have heard about
> > him.
>Revisionist history seems a fine pursuit of EP. We
>certainly cannot make policy decisions with it.
>Although it seems good for marketing purposes.

Actually you can *could* make policy decisions using EP.  The big reason 
for the fighting and terror in Iraq is the totally hosed economy.  The 
reason you can't fix the economy is the fighting.

But (in theory) you could break the cycle.  Killing a substantial fraction 
of the population, (genocide, epidemic, or starvation would do it) or for a 
completely off the wall proposal you could swap out the population.  Moving 
the whole population of Iraq would be possible, but you probable don't need 
to move the Kurds.

Moving to a place (like the US) where the power was on all day would shut 
off war mode, and with no fighting the swapped-in population could fix up 
the country and get oil moving in a matter of months.

I don't expect this to be *done* of course, it's far to weird.  But 
eventually I bet you it will be recognized as workable.

As it is, my prediction for Iraq (and independent of the US staying or not) 
is a major population reduction.  Might take a generation or could be done 
as fast as the Rwandan genocide.

> >
> > >Hate is entropy. Love is spontaneous
> > self-organizing
> > >complexity.
> >
> > Unfortunately, human "spontaneous self-organizing
> > complexity" eventually
> > overloads the the ecosystem.  And since we are the
> > top predator . . .
>We best ration the resources we have left, start
>looking for others, and find another ecosystem . . . somewhere.

The alternative is what Europe did which inadvertently stopped the wars 
there.  Namely birth rates at replacement.

Keith Henson

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