[ExI] Media and origin of hate

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Fri Jan 3 03:35:02 UTC 2020

If you buy into human psychological traits having evolved, that is
being subject to selection, then hating people is (or at least was)

However, the psychological trait of hating people seems to be turned
on and off by environmental conditions.

Human populations have been running up against ecological limits for
at least a million years.  The first response is moving over the
horizon to an unoccupied place.  That's the reason humans settled
every part of the world that could be settled.

If you can't move because everywhere is settled, then killing the
neighbors and taking their resources (including their young women) is
adaptive if your group is under resource stress.  If your group is not
under resource stress, then attacking the neighbors (with whom you
normally exchange women for wives) has never been adaptive, and
unstressed humans don't do it.

One of the big ways humans differ from our sister species (chimps) is
that we are in "war mode" only when justified by selection.  (Chimps
are in "war mode" all the time.)

Humans have highly evolved mechanisms to detect a resource crisis
a-coming.  When they do, one of the psychological mechanisms turned on
is xenophobia.  The members of the group start circulating memes that
work up hate for the targeted neighbors.

So function does the modern media have?  100,000 years ago a resource
crisis was a direct experience.  It still is for people who realize
that their prospects are diminished in comparison to there parents'
time.  But "the media" constantly bombards us with stories about
various pending resource crises.

It is no wonder that there is so much hate against anyone different
from your close group.

Alas, this insight doesn't suggest easy solutions to me, especially at
a worldwide level.  If you have ideas, please respond.


PS  Stressed humans are also attracted to irrational leaders.
Irrational leaders typically take the group into war, which, win or
lose, functioned (in the stone age) to improve the population to
resource ratio.  Thinking about the current crop of leaders in this
light is scary.

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