The World Transformation Movement (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Tuesday, November 03, 2020, 21:11 (651 days ago) @ xeno6696

dhw: " I have no idea how he knows that prehistoric humans lived in nothing but love and cooperation – his only reference seems to be the metaphor of the Garden of Eden."

xeno: Any cursory study of current non-state or pre-state societies, or even societies that evolved when state power declined has turned up more evidence that cooperation and mutualism tend to be our default mechanism. It's maybe 3rd on my list but I'm about to read "Against the Grain" which is an in-depth study of archaeological and paleontological evidence suggesting that the advent of agriculture and eventually state-based societies created the structural foundation to create empires, strongly suggesting that the majority of what we've viewed as "western progress" owes quite a bit more to self-imposed impulses to competition and domination. Apparently the majority of non-state societies tended to peaceful cooperation and it was the advent of states that made our world more violent.

dhw: I’m not sure where you get this from. Tribal warfare (i.e. conflict between groups of humans) goes as far back into human history as we can go. But yes, there is also love and cooperation, and I would suggest that our default mechanism is a mixture: we must have love and cooperation in order for society to work. But as with our fellow animals, we also need the selfish (but healthy) instinct for survival, and I believe that selfishness (when it expands beyond the instinct for survival) lies at the heart of all the nasty things we get up to. Our innate curiosity allied to advanced technology enabled us to explore far beyond our own territory, and so inevitably enlarged the scale of conflict (e.g. war) as well as that of cooperation (e.g. trade). (Think of animal leaders of the herd and territorialism as a forerunner of human "competition and domination".) For me, the “default mechanism” is the very same mixture of love and cooperation on the one hand, and selfishness on the other, that we find in our fellow animals.

As far as the World Transformation Movement is concerned, I have already explained my objections!

David: Well stated. Cooperation undoubtedly started in early hunter-gatherer small groups in which only by working together in group interest could they survive. Those groups may have fought off other groups if necessary. Which means we learned to blend in self-interest with group interest. Larger group states a few thousand years ago led to important considerations of moral and ethical principals as evidenced by the appearance of religious groups, both Eastern and Western thought

Matt: I would say cooperation started even earlier than hunter-gathering as it's fundamental to several of our relatives, Bonobos being one example.

Very true. But I can't say the bonobos epigenetically taught us about cooperation in small groups. humans had to learn it on their own.

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