[extropy-chat] Re: [SOCIO] Cooperation and diversity

Jef Allbright jef at jefallbright.net
Tue Apr 26 13:24:40 UTC 2005

Dirk Bruere wrote:

> Jef Allbright wrote:
>> Dirk Bruere wrote:
>>> Jef Allbright wrote:
>>>> Rather, we can expect *increased* diversity, but within an 
>>>> increasingly aware cultural framework that recognizes and promotes 
>>>> the enhanced value of cooperative interaction among diverse agents.
>>> I think that the opposite is likely.
>>> That with increasing diversity there will come a massive, and 
>>> polarised, competition between new Human species.
>>> Racism writ larger than ever.
>>> Those who don't 'look after their own' preferentially will lose out 
>>> to those who do.
>> Dirk, cooperative advantage is fundamental to competitive success at 
>> all scales of organization, from the subatomic through prebiological 
>> and biological to cultural.
>> Do you not think these hypothetical separatists would have some 
>> interests in common, and find ways to cooperate, even temporarily, to 
>> overcome others less organized?  Do you not think that those who find 
>> themselves at a disadvantage would tend to adapt and cooperate rather 
>> than be destroyed?
>> Why do you speculate that these "new humans", more advanced than us, 
>> would recapitulate evolutionary growth from isolated biological 
>> organisms to cooperative cultural organisms?
>> "Looking out for your own" is the essence of morality, and in the 
>> broader sense means converting your potential enemies into trading 
>> partners rather than destroying them.
> The only morality will be game theory .
> If it is cost effective to trade, then trade.
> If it is cost effective to annihilate the opposition then that's what 
> will happen.
> Why do you expect evolutionary pressures to cease or expect some kind 
> of universal morality beyond game theory?
Interesting, your basic assertions match mine, but then you conclude 
that we disagree.

I too think it's all about game theory, but keeping in mind that most 
games are presented within artificially narrow context, so one tends to 
see the pieces but not the greater pattern, and paradox rather than a 
coherent whole.

There's a time to trade and a time to annihilate, each in the near-term 
smaller scale, but overall evolutionary growth favors synergy.  
Competition at one scale can be seen as cooperation at a larger scale 
since it tends to produce systems that are more robust than what 
preceded them. Whether it's two hydrogen and one oxygen atom forming 
water, mitochondria working within the machinery of our cells, or groups 
of humans working together to do what no subgroup could do alone, each 
instance of "cooperation", or synergy, results in a system with greater 
degrees of freedom--greater probable survival value--than before. 

As I've said, looking out for Self is of the essence in morality, as it 
is with game theory. For an agent not to look out for its own interests 
(as it sees them) would be irrational or insane.  But wisdom is seeing 
Self in the bigger picture.  For any given context, what is considered 
"moral" (by that subjective agent) is what works.  And over increasing 
context (of actors and interactions) what increasingly works is 
considered increasingly moral.

Dirk, I'm arguing *for* evolutionary theory, and saying that 
synergy--what we call "cooperation" when it's between agents--is 
fundamental to survival and growth of any evolving system.

- Jef

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