[ExI] ep thought experiment

Keith Henson hkeithhenson at gmail.com
Thu Jul 9 17:59:48 UTC 2020

<spike at rainier66.com> wrote:

-----Original Message-----
From: extropy-chat <extropy-chat-bounces at lists.extropy.org> On Behalf Of
Keith Henson via extropy-chat

>...Actually, the pre human adaptation was probably throwing rocks at lions.
Calvin thinks the "hand axes" that are found over at least two million years
of sediment were thrown like a discus into animals at a water hole.

> Hunting with sharpened frisbee, cool.

You want to read the chapter "Hand-ax Heaven" in Ascent of Mind.

> That is a most interesting concept
for many reasons: it is easy enough to imagine the proto-humans figuring out
how to make them with chipped flint and figuring out how to hurl them with
deadly results.  Reasoning: the bean-em-with-the-fastball approach would
only work on smaller game usually, with the occasional bop on the head for
the bigger stuff, but in general wouldn't be lethal.  A frisbee stone would
produce a gash which would slow the beast enough that it could be caught
with a group working together.

Calvin and others who studied this think the spinning sharp rock
banging into an animal's back would cause it to fall because of
reflexes.  The rest of the herd runs over it, followed by early humans
with clubs.


>>...I mentioned Federal Judges as an example of trading income for status,
but I can't think of other cases where seeking status is maladaptive.
Can you think up examples?

I should not have implied what judges do is maladaptive.  But
generally, I doubt their increased status translates into getting more
nookey or additional children.  Such is one of the mismatches between
today and the stone age.

> Keith there are pleeeenty of examples of trading income for status, such as
a smart person going into academia rather than research or industry.
Another one I can think of is doing missionary work.  That one is tangled up
with other motives, good old pure selfless altruism is what I would like to
think, but it also raises one's status in a church.  Those who have been
there know the story.  Enlisting in the military is another.

> Doing any kind of volunteer work might be considered giving away free time
or potential income for status (well kinda (that one might be a bit of a
stretch (I can't detect any status I am getting from my school volunteer
stuff (but I have gained insights (and discovered how deep is my well of

> But status seeking is certainly costly in plenty of ways: really expensive
sneakers, rolex watches, high-end cars for instance.

Sure, but if you have the income, higher status makes (men anyway)
more attractive to women.  It's not fundamentally different from
dragging a large chunk of meat back to camp.


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