[ExI] Food for thought

hkhenson hkhenson at rogers.com
Thu Sep 11 16:48:15 UTC 2008

At 12:41 AM 9/11/2008, you wrote:
>On Wed, Sep 10, 2008 at 10:09 AM, hkhenson 
><<mailto:hkhenson at rogers.com>hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:
>At 10:42 PM 9/9/2008, John Grigg wrote:
>Regarding religion, I would think non-violent proselytizing is a 
>much more enlightened form of the old "two tribes battling it out 
>with swords and bows."  Meme wars that don't end in human bloodshed!
>Some 60 million people who died in the context of WWII would 
>probably disagree with you if they were not dead.  They would lay a 
>lot of blame on Nazi memes, communist memes and various memes held 
>by the opposing parties.  Communism in particular had fairly long 
>non violent proselytizing phase.   But while memes are an element of 
>the causal path to wars, they are not the ultimate reason for bloodshed.
>The meme wars I was making reference to were those which dealt with 
>religious proselyting/competition (both within and between nations) 
>and as I said did not end in mass human bloodshed.  WWII was at 
>least in part about secular memes (not religious memes) helping to 
>lead groups toward war.

I can't find any clear dividing line between religious memes and 
secular memes.  For more than 20 years I have said communism either 
has to be classed with religions or put in a larger class that 
includes religions and has essentially the same psychological 
properties.  If you use meme exclusion as a test of how much some 
meme is like a religion, it is clear that being a communists 
massively reduces the chance a person will be say a baptist.

>The ultimate reason is human populations that get too large for the 
>resource base.
>The theory states that populations with a growing income per capita 
>will not start a war.  (They can still be attacked of course.)
>A resource poor Japan and Germany made their big grab for power and 
>wealth in WWII.  But of course their despotic governments used 
>nationalistic memes to fan the fires of patriotism and twist their 
>citizens to their will.  I'm not so sure that their populations 
>truly got too large for their resource base as states your theory 
>(despite all the lectures given on "lebenstraum" to the German 
>people by their leadership).  I think it was more a case on the 
>individual/group level of greedy "we are a uniquely special & 
>powerful nation and must be number one, screw international trade, 
>we will just seize what we want" thinking.

They were resource poor only relative to their populations.  Had 
their populations been 1/3 or 1/10th as large they would not have 
been resource poor.  (But they probably would have been run over by 
neighbors.)   With "twist their citizens to their will" you are 
making the case for war being top down.  With "individual/group level 
of greedy" you are making the case for bottom up.

Which one do you favor?

There certainly is feedback between levels as a population under 
resource stress or that has been attacked will support or accept war 
leaders, even incompetent ones.  (Consider the current situation as 
an example.)  But ultimately it is a populating that is facing hard 
times for one reason or another that leads to them starting a war.

Also "greed" is a relative term.  A "necessity" depends on what you 
have become accustom to.  There are people who consider a private jet 
a necessity.  What the average person on this list considers bare 
necessities would sound like insane greed to stone age people.

>I have a particularly jaundiced view of religions.  Most of you know why.
>Keith, please don't think an organization such as the one you refer 
>to is a worthy excuse for having a particularly negative view of 
>religions in general.

There is a difference between having a negative view and having a 
realistic one.  Read the article.


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