- Capitalism and Alternatives -

On conversion

Posted by: bill on December 25, 1999 at 12:24:37:

In Reply to: We're all going to have 3 eyes? Cool! posted by Michael on December 22, 1999 at 20:50:57:

: :...making the world even more like Venus than it already is.

: The Venusian from The Twilight Zone had 3 eyes. I think I'll invest in contact lenses!

Actually I think SDF's reference was to Venus's example of a greenhouse effect gone bonkers.

: : SDF: Easter Island wasn't even THAT interesting. Human civilization will simply die with a whimper.

: Yes, but there will me much screaming and violence before the last remnants whimper out.

: : SDF: Now you're thinking about enculturation, the main problem from the beginning for humankind.

: Perhaps, but what if the Semai, a homogenous group of people (one assumes) were genetically predisposed to less aggression? Stop shaking your head, it might be the case. I also asked whether they were geographically isolated because I'd like to know if they could maintain a peaceful existence if forced to fight more hostile peoples. Extrapolating from that scenario, once learning the art of war and the thrill of the kill, would they remain peaceful among themselves? I'll read up on them myself.

I'd forget about localized predispositions. It would require too many conditions - isolation, forces for natural selection of a trait, and gobs and gobs of time. Much more likely is the need for cooperation amidst relative scarcity. Course it can work the other way round. A tribe used to conditions of relative abundance, when suddenly confronted with enforced scarcity, may not have the cultural tools necessary to sustain a working culture. (e.g. the Ik of Turnbull's "Mountain People" - a lesson like so many others that are totally lost)

: : SDF: With humanity, it can be discounted. People don't have claws, nor fangs, this wasn't an accident.

: Aggression, however, requires neither claws nor fangs, simply the will to be aggressive.

: : Besides, groups such as the Eskimo that eat lots of meat also die early. You can't call that an evolutionary advantage...

: I've never understood the Eskimo. Okay, so the Bering Straight is frozen, and you cross over it in pursuit of caribou and other game, and you enter a vast, cold and hostile environment, and you: a) keep going until you reach California, or b) build an igloo. I'm sure the Eskimo had their reasons for staying (hostile renegade Semai migrants gone bad in Alaska, perhaps?), but still, there have to be better alternatives to sitting on a block of ice eating muktuk.

Which shows the power of humans to form cultures of adaptation - probably nearly as effective in long range survival as the cockroach.

: : : Also, in human relations, reasoned discussion is effective, but threatening to beat the shit out of your opponent is too.

: : SDF: Doesn't work on the internet.

: To be honest, SDF, I don't think anything works on the Internet. The net is great for looking up words like "muktuk" and seeing Pam Anderson's naughty bits, but changing minds? It's an exercise in frustration.

: Alright, it helped organize the battle in Seattle, but those people were converts already!

Which is really what I wanted to respond to. I'd simply ask - "How does one become a convert?" Serious question. Can the weight of evidence cause a landslide?

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