[ExI] The nature of humans was ambiguously evil british

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 01:30:19 UTC 2010

On Fri, Dec 17, 2010 at 3:41 PM,  John Grigg
<possiblepaths2050 at gmail.com> wrote:


> I remember as a teenager seeing documentaries about McCarthyism and
> thinking to myself, "those sorts of things could never happen again!"
> I turned out to be so horribly wrong about that...

Under a thin veneer of culture lies the stone age human.

It turns out to be obvious to those who understand evolutionary
psychology that we are wired up to be *both* peaceful *and* warlike
with the perception of conditions getting better or worse switching
our social (mass) behavior from one mode to the other.

Good times and the perception of good into the future, we are peaceful.

With the perception of bad times a-coming we turn up the gain on
xenophobic memes, demonize others and attempt to kill them for the
resources they hold.  Just like the stone age behavior of our

We have had an exceptional half century where technical advances ran
ahead of population growth in most of the world.  Where it did not we
had Rwanda and Cambodia.  *If* such advances stall out--and they
might--expect to see wars knock the population back.

How much I don't know.  If wars just stopped commerce, an awful lot of
the world does not grow enough food to keep them from starving.

As an engineer, I think there is plenty of room to solve the
problems--largely energy problems.  But it's not obvious it will be


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