[ExI] property

Bryan Bishop kanzure at gmail.com
Sat Apr 19 15:46:00 UTC 2008

On Saturday 19 April 2008, Tom Nowell wrote:
> call "culture" and some call "memes". Judging by
> primate behaviour, I think ownership is too deeply
> hardwired into our brain to be considered learned.

That's an interesting approach, mentioning the biological substrate of 
territorial behavior and other such ideas; in truth, it is something 
both learned and moderately 'innate' in the sense that you will flinch 
when you are poked with a hot stick, and learned in the sense that the 
Native Americans were able to go along fairly smoothly without much 
property issues [occassionally?]. I am *not* talking about communism 
here, for anybody about to pull out that word on me. Instead, perhaps 
it would be possible to modify our brains so that the concept of 
ownership can be, in some way, hacked. It is somewhat like a lie: you 
may think you 'own' something and that your ownership of it will cause 
other people to do things, but this is not necessarily true, consider 
the cases of parents stealing from children, or using the recent 
Slavery thread, a slaveowner stealing from his slaves? Oh, but that's 
right, the slaves weren't human -- the justification in the old South 
of the U.S. was that slaves were completely 'inferior' beings, that 
they were not truly human. So you get to make up reasons why somebody 
doesn't get to 'own' something ... see the cases of children being 
taken from their mothers or fathers in divorces, see the cases of homes 
being taken from so-called owners (dwellers) when an outside 'majority' 
(read: group with pitchforks/weapons/strength) can come in and enforce 
their options. Hopefully it will never come to that, but if we could 
modify our brains we might be able to remember that these things are 
not truly 'owned' and be able to prepare for those terrible sorts of 

- Bryan

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