[ExI] Physics versus psychology

Mike Dougherty msd001 at gmail.com
Tue Oct 26 00:57:05 UTC 2010

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 7:02 PM, Keith Henson <hkeithhenson at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 3:29 PM, Mike Dougherty <msd001 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'd say it's just lucky [sic] that we happened to discover a
>> particular exploit of human awareness and learning that hypnosis is
>> possible under certain conditions (set/setting, prior experience,
>> willingness, etc.)
> You are at the wrong level.
> Taken that hypnosis exists, then why do human have it at all?  Why was
> it selected in the human past?  I.e., how did it contribute to
> reproductive success?
> Or is it a side effect of some other trait that did contribute to
> reproductive success?

Please explain what you mean by hypnosis.  I'm imagining the stage
performance of making people thing they're a chicken or a clinical
suggestion to quit smoking.  Are you talking about how this would be
useful for a population that it would be exploited or cultivated?  If
so, I think BillK's example is a decent explanation:  those who ready
accept dominion from a strong leader are rewarded with breeding
opportunity while those who oppose the dominant leader are challenged
- winning the challenge probably involves ostracism from the group
(smugly satisfied, but lower breeding likelihood) while failing the
challenge probably leads to reduced breeding chance too.  The only
time resistance to hypnosis is advantageous is in the presence of a
codependent trait for leadership (such as physical size/brute

> I have what I think is a solid model for the reason humans have both
> religions and wars, under reasonable assumptions, wars in particular
> contribute strongly to genetic survival in some circumstances.  With
> some knowledge of hunter gatherer cultures, capture-bonding is easy to
> understand
> But hypnosis has me baffled.  I can't come up with a reason the
> psychological trait engaged in hypnosis has any survival or
> reproductive advantage at all.
> Keith
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