[ExI] extropy-chat Digest, Vol 82, Issue 15

Jeff Davis jrd1415 at gmail.com
Sat Jul 10 21:27:53 UTC 2010

On Sat, Jul 10, 2010 at 7:03 AM, Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com> wrote:

> The thing that shocks and depresses me is not the ignorance - we know about that - but the hostility.  Why do so many people have the attitude "you think differently to me, therefore you are my enemy ...


A central feature of tribalism is the us/them dichotomy.  "Us"
truthful and good, "them" untruthful and evil.  The human genes of
tribe A compete with the human genes of tribe B.  How does one tribe
distinguish itself from an "other"?

Tribe A has an identity meme set, composed of identity markers such as
culture, belief system, and narrative.  Whenever one tribal human
(which is to say any and all humans) encounters an "other" (as in "an
other tribe") human, the difference in identity markers will provoke
suspicion, caution, and defensiveness.  When the "other" speaks,
memetic conflicts provoke cognitive dissonance.  This mental "pain"
signals a challenge, ie an "attack" by a rival meme set.  Naturally --
here, literally, as in evolved over billions of generations in a
pre-cognitive state of nature -- there will follow an impulse to
strike back, to defend one's own meme set.

That's where the hostility comes from.  A foreign meme set -- cryonics
and its new-paradigm attack on death -- is just too much of an assault
on all the stabilizing and reassuring verities of the old-paradigm
meme set.

The instinct for tribalism is inbuilt and exceedingly powerful.  I see
it as the explanation for examples of astonishingly nonsensical group
think, ie trutherism (on the left) and birtherism (on the right).

That's my take on  it.  YMMV.

Best, Jeff Davis

      "The whole problem with the world is that fools
              and fanatics are always so certain of themselves,
                           and wiser people so full of doubts."
                                                   Bertrand Russell

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