Evolutionary advantage of having sophisticated tastes (was Re: Mind machines, a badly neglected topi

Mike Linksvayer (ml@justintime.com)
Sun, 25 Oct 1998 20:19:16 -0800

den Otter wrote:
> Push the "lust" button and even your hamster will seem irresistible.

And keep on pushing. It would be fun, but not something I want to do. Reading this thread brought forth what seems like an obvious point in my mind, but one that hadn't ever gelled for me:

Having and cultivating "sophisticated" tastes could help inoculate one against addiction to presumably easier to satisfy tastes.

If your idea of paradise is, for example, learning to appreciate "difficult" art, really understanding fine points of philosophy, or discovering everything that can be known about the physical universe, you'll have to work really hard to scratch your itch, and "improve" yourself tremendously in the process.

If your idea of paradise is, for example, a permanent high or everlasting orgasm, you can or will be able to obtain reasonable facsimilies with little effort, which means you won't improve yourself, which means you're evolutionary fodder.

A "neo-Calvinist" ethic of hard work and limited pleasure could have the same evolutionary benefit as pursuing hard to obtain pleasures (ok, I'm probably completely mangling neo-Calvinism), though the latter sounds more fun to me.

Finally, I have a practical justification for my aesthetic preferences!

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