Oh the humanity (was Re: EVOLUTION: The Aquatic Ape)

Michael Butler (mbutler@ocv1.ocv.com)
Fri, 24 Jan 1997 15:38:00 PST

Squirrel sez:
Thus one can make a parallel
case -- I don't say a completely convincing one -- that we are
obligate social beings, who require (in the sense of natural
selection) a cooperative society at least as large as an extended
family or perhaps a small band. (Hmn, that line of reasoning might
not be popular among extropians, but what's a squirrel for if not to
chatter obnoxiously and hurl nuts...)

Pardon me while I "riff":

It strikes very near the heart of one of my primary concerns these
days. It's also worth noting that any reasonably-thorough reading of
_The Evolution of Cooperation_ will point up close correspondences to
Robert Anton Wilson's "Communication is only possible between equals"

Just talking about the _E of C_ stuff, not selfish genes:
Sharks don't have to care about cooperation. To have cooperation make
sense, you need to have (some, but not too much) memory,
accountability, and (the expectation of) an ongoing series of encounters
with "the same" counterparts. Accountability implies rough parity of
defensive and offensive resources, to provide reward/punishment; the
reward/punishment both have to _matter_, without being _fatal_.

I suspect that another strong parallel exists with simple statistical
results that show why "fish schooling" works.

I want enough elbow room, enough comrades and enough spare time.
The elbow room--I probably don't have to explain that;
the spare time--ditto;
the comrades are so I can take a nap and not worry overmuch about
who's tending the fire and
will I wake up with my throat cut.

These all seem human traits--or preferences--that exist rather a priori
in much of the population. And I like them fine. Some others, I'm not
so fond of. I remain to be convinced that I know what's baby and
what's bathwater, and I am suspicious of those who say they do.

(po) how does one keep a "does not work and play well with others"
transhuman from bopping off, eating a galaxy or two and coming back
around to play bully/eat one's brain?

Squirrel on, dude, you appear to be chittering my dialect.

MMB, at but not for OCC