[ExI] Food for thought

John Grigg possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 11 23:29:28 UTC 2008

On Thu, Sep 11, 2008 at 9:48 AM, hkhenson <hkhenson at rogers.com> wrote:

> 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:
>> snip
>> 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.

I would say that you have a good point.  Eric Hoffer's classic book "The
True Believer" comes to mind.  But the type of follower he profiles is a
generally very dysfunctional person who is desperate for a better future
because they hate their present.  I don't think this is representative of
the mainstream churchgoer in the United States.

>  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?

I would say generally top down.  But as the saying goes, "every people
eventually get the government they deserve."  There is obviously a complex
interrelation between the top, middle and bottom of any society.

> 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 agree.  Americans right now see it as a "right" to run around all day in
automobiles that don't get very good gas mileage.  And they also see it as a
"right" to do this while buying cheap gasoline at their local pump.

>  I have a particularly jaundiced view of religions.  Most of you know why.
>> Keith
>> 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.

Keith, the very harmful organization you chose to fight cloaked itself in
the robes of religion to get tax exempt status and the other benefits of
mainstream religion.  It is wrong to compare Baptists, Presbyterians,
Buddhists, Mormons, Unitarians, etc., to them.  You have been so badly hurt
by your experiences that you have become unfairly biased.

I enjoyed the article and plan to share it with some of my politically
inclined friends.

John Grigg

"This is beyond anything I could have imagined!"  Lewis from "Meet the
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