[Paleopsych] It pays to lick the rich

HowlBloom at aol.com HowlBloom at aol.com
Thu Jul 29 08:44:57 UTC 2004

I'm on the right track with a lot of bolstering from your Life Strategies and 
from Bill Tillier, who managed to snag a copy of your very hard to get 
classic and xerox the whole thing for me.

Another element helped cement the thought--Robert Cialdini's Scarcity 
Principle.  Cialdini corraled a mass of social psychology studies indicating that we 
all hanker after what everyone else wants but can't have.  We lust for things 
that will make us the center of admiration and attention.  Those things--those 
status symbols--are usually rarities.  And guess who manages to display his 
or her wealth by showing the rarest things of all? The rich.

And where do the rarest things come from?  Usually from very far away or from 
some process of manufacturing that is still so new that only a few of 
whatever it is have been made--digital watches in the early 1970s--space flights 
today.  So what does that make the rich?  Synapses between distant cultures.  
Feelers toward the future.  Pathmakers to new empowerments and new possibilities.

That's what the rich are in Western Culture--a mass-production and 
mass-marketing culture that takes scarcities to the masses very fast.  Digital watches 
made it from rarities in 1972 to everyday items in the early 1980s and to 
commodities so common they seemed trashy and were replaced by analog watch dials 
again in the 1990s.

That doesn't happen in the societies we idealize--indigenous cultures.  There 
the rare stays rare and the masses don't undergo vast leaps of capability in 
five years or less.  So should we really be knocking consumer culture, mass 
production, and mass-marketing?  Only when those who consume spend more than 
they have.  Or when we can prove that we're carving vast cavities in the 
ecosystem the provides us oxygen, food, and weather we can live with...weather that 
shields us from ice ages, ultraviolet rays, and continent-covering floods.  

In a message dated 7/28/2004 8:27:16 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
kendulf at shaw.ca writes:
This is a quick one, Howard. Here you are on the same trail I was when I 
first saw that the rich in human society are the usually the biological dispersal 
phenotype. Indeed, the rich are notoriously our pioneers! And they are 
BIOLOGICALLY! structured to be that way thanks to luxurious nutrition beginning with 
conception. See my old Life Strategies...(1978) book on this issue, chapter 6 
entitled "How genes communicate with the environment - the biology of 
inequity" . Yes, yes and yes again to your musings. You are on track. Cheers, Val Geist

Howard Bloom
Author of The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of 
History and Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 
21st Century
Visiting Scholar-Graduate Psychology Department, New York University; Faculty 
Member, The Graduate Institute
Founder: International Paleopsychology Project; founding board member: Epic 
of Evolution Society; founding board member, The Darwin Project; founder: The 
Big Bang Tango Media Lab; member: New York Academy of Sciences, American 
Association for the Advancement of Science, American Psychological Society, Academy 
of Political Science, Human Behavior and Evolution Society, International 
Society for Human Ethology; advisory board member: Youthactivism.org; executive 
editor -- New Paradigm book series.
For information on The International Paleopsychology Project, see: 
for two chapters from 
The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History, 
see www.howardbloom.net/lucifer
For information on Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind from the Big Bang 
to the 21st Century, see www.howardbloom.net
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