Re: How rational is nonconformity?

The Low Golden Willow (
Sun, 30 Mar 1997 20:35:44 -0800 (PST)

On Mar 30, 10:50pm, wrote:
} (Carl Feynman) writes:

} >thought of was much higher than it is today. Thus, the likely reward of
} >doing something most people thought was a bad idea was bigger than it is
} >now.
} But all the adults were citing the accumulated knowledge of centuries or even
} millenia. The Australian aborigines' Dreamtime techniques have apparently

A fine thing, since hunter-gatherer information -- don't eat that! --
isn't the sort you'd want to re-accumulate on one's own. Snuff science.

} The punishment for a wrong idea was much more likely to be death. In our
} benign society you can make a lot of boo-boos and come out OK. Without

On the other hand, the punishment for not being inventive in a hostile
environment can _also_ be death. Make a mistake (run out of water) and
you die; but if you don't explore every option available you may not
make it either. Especially in competition with braver bands who have
found twice as many edible species to gather as you.

} In point of fact, "primitive" cultures are typically very conservative, and
} their members are typically very conservative as well. This is part of the
} reason they have such trouble when pitched into contact with developed
} societies.

Primitive == subsistence farmers or primitive == hunter-gatherers?
Jared Diamond feels the latter are likely to be more intelligent by
culture if not by marginal evolution than humans living in more
artificial, hence nicer, environments. Specifically that many of them
are more generally exploratory and playful than modern humans, though
outhinking a couch potato or McTourist is not difficult.

I'd suggest H-G problems stem more from massive technological
inferiority and more deadly, massive immunological inferiority leading
to societal wipeout, with which few people will deal well. Amerinds
adapted to horses, guns, and applicable Eurasian agriculture quite
well. Cherokee successfully adapted to US legal system, which was
ignored by Andrew "fuck the Court" Jackson. Hard to adapt to being
outnumbered and outgunned by people willing to destroy, not conquer,

(Might Superpowers could conquer neither Vietnam or Afghanistan, despite
clear ability to redundantly destroy biosphere. Suspect US success in
Iraq related more to tendency of Iraqis to run away.)

(Suspect am beginning to write like Eugene.)

Merry part,
-xx- Damien R. Sullivan X-) <*>

"Do you know why Mr. Mayhew walked out? It was because his socialist,
egalitarian principles had been outraged. There was one poor lion who
hadn't got a Christian." -- Winston Churchill