[extropy-chat] War Is Easy To Explain - Peace is Not

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 13 06:28:27 UTC 2007

--- Lee Corbin <lcorbin at rawbw.com> wrote:
> >>2.  why people cannot control their own envy
> towards
> >>      those better off than they are, even though
> they've
> >>      grown up seeing envy in all its ugly
> manifestations
> >>      all their lives!
> > 
> > You need a concrete example here.
> I gave an example of two Athenians, one who voted to
> exile
> the other *simply* because he was envious of the
> other's
> high reputation.
> But that's an aberration to us, of course.  So take
> Bill Gates:
> and don't tell me that all the antipathy towards him
> has
> nothing to do with his being so rich.   Or do you
> think
> that envy is a rare phenomenon?

No it is almost universal amongst intelligent
organisms so I would bet that it is hard-wired into
the brain somehow. It's obviously a survival
mechanism. Take some popcorn to the park and find a
lone pigeon. Give it one kernal and see how many
pigeons flock to the vicinity and try to take it from
your chosen bird. You can literally feel the greed and
envy. We compete with each other for limited
resources, ergo envy and greed are rational

For other examples of animal envy think about peer
training of animals. Almost any trainable animal will
learn far faster if it has to compete for rewards with
an already trained peer animal. Dogs, parrots, or
dolphins, it works on all of them. Envy at work.

Another interesting example is this:

It's about a band of chimps literally breaking out of
a cage at a wild life preserve in order to maim and
practically kill, not their captors, but a couple that
was throwing a birthday party for a chimp they once
owned. The sheriff commented that the chimps' motive
was not escape but was envy of the one chimp that was
being thrown a party by the couple.

Envy is a completely rational survival strategy that
unfortunately causes suffering to the envious and, if
the envious is vengeful, to envied as well.           

> >>4.  why there has been a uniform decrease of
> warfare per
> >>      living human being during the course of
> history
> > 
> > In my EP, memes and war paper I address this. 
> Warfare is the ultimate 
> > consequence of widespread perception of a bleak
> future.  I also would ask 
> > you to support your statement with a study.
> No study is needed. I'm amazed that you don't
> acknowledge the
> correctness of the statement.  Perhaps I wasn't
> clear.  Wars are
> *less* frequent per person per year than ever
> before, and this
> has been monotonic for a long time.  I'm currently
> reading about
> the founding of Russia, and before that I was
> reading Colonial
> history, and before that 3rd century Rome.  Find me
> a fifty year
> period in world history more peaceful per living
> person than the
> last fifty years.   You *obviously* cannot.

Perhaps we are learning. Like Keith said, we now live
in nations of millions rather than tribes of 150,
where competition for basic necessities amounts to
getting into the shortest line at the grocery store.
Therefore the incentive per-capita for war is far less
than the risk of getting killed. Not to mention these
days, by international treaty, victorious soldiers are
not allowed to rape and pillage the conquered. While
somebody obviously profits, it's generally no longer
the ones doing the fighting.

In any case you can see that even the sodiers who
survive modern war do not receive any differential
reproductive advantage compared to the draft dodgers
except perhaps bragging rights. Thus wars are wiping
out the carriers of the most hawkish programming (both
genetic and memetic) while preserving the benevolent
yet retaliatory ones (tit for tat/burgeoise doves) and
of course the draft dodging pure doves and
chicken-hawks that also benefit. A few more world wars
and soldiers may be mostly warrior-poets, robots, or

Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"Nature which governs the whole will soon change all things which thou seest, and out of their substance will make other things, and again other things from the substance of them, in order that the world may be ever new." -Marcus Aurelius, Philosopher and Emperor of Rome.

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