Scientific-Gnosticism Memetic-Shamanism

The Failure of Civilization

Published by under Uncategorized on February 11, 2010

[Prerequisites: Evolutionary game theory]

The primary point of failure in society seems to be the elimination of the success of the altruism model. Altruism exists as a mechanism of group competition. What goes around comes around. By helping a group you typically help yourself. Unfortunately this concept only really works in small populations. Selfishness and selflessness work in a continuum in nature and by creating such obsurdly large groups we destroy balance mechanisms. Just as selfish damaging acts rise in proportion to the level of anonymity (The internetnet is prime example) because of the impossibility or at least reduction of punishment, so too does the level of altruism plummet with anonymity because of the reduction of positive feedback. Positive acts get lost in the ocean of people just as surely as the negative ones do. The very basis of learning is reward and any basic psychological study shows reward to be the greater motivator over punishment.

[Basic assumptions: Selfishness is yin, strength, competition, representing the necessary pruning of death, while selflessness is yang, creation, cooperation, growth and variation of life.]

It’s not only a basic tit for tat between participating individuals so that a single individual can act altruistically and expect that others will eventually¬†treat them the same. There instead seems to be a general setpoint that all humans carry as their assessment of the dominant strategy. In a smaller population the waves that are inevitable between the dominant strategies happen very quickly and in a way in which a single individual can provide enough altruism to start the wave of growth over again. But in a large enough population the waves can become so large that the civilization destroys itself during the selfish/competition phase before the next wave of altruism/cooperation can be reached. Acts of kindness are lost in an ocean of exploitation such that even individuals too far balanced towards cooperation (martyrs) who might otherwise begin the next wave, cannot have the effect of their natural purpose.

The only way in which a civilization might overcome this inherent weakness would be to purposely integrate the waves of dominant strategy seen in nature; to break the larger group into many tightly-knit, interreliant groups; or preferrably both.

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