Re: Plea (was ExI: Cognitive Extropians)

Mark Grant (
Sat, 25 Jan 1997 21:25:33 +0000

On Fri, 24 Jan 1997, Eric Watt Forste wrote:

> Mark replied that they
> had survival value to our ancestors' genes. This presumes that our
> passions are entirely genetic in origin, and not memetic, and this
> is the point that I take issue with.

Yes, I agree. The kind of thing I was thinking of was the kind of
behaviour which exists almost exclusively to perpetuate the species rather
than help individuals. For example, we've been talking in another thread
about how many women prefer love to achievement, which presumably has
some kind of genetic basis. It helps their genes reproduce, but doesn't
help those who would prefer to be great mathematicians.

Does anyone know of real research in this area? From personal experience I
tend to suspect that if it exists then the genetic control occurs
indirectly through reward mechanisms (e.g. being 'in love' feels good),
but that we can activate the same reward mechanisms in other ways (MDMA,
T'ai Chi, etc) to override the programming.

[Not to imply that being 'in love' is a bad thing by any means, but many
people seem to take it to extremes to their own detriment.]


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