The World Transformation Movement (Introduction)

by dhw, Thursday, November 05, 2020, 10:49 (28 days ago) @ xeno6696

Xeno: I wasn't trying to suggest that tribal warfare was nonexistent. Where I'm coming from isn't romanticism either: when you study hunter-gatherer tribes, where are the armies or police forces? They don't exist.

dhw: They would have had their own means of keeping order in the event of disputes or “crimes”, and they would have fought their enemies with their weapons even if they didn’t wear a uniform and give one another ranks.

Xeno: The same goes with nomadic groups. Inuit society for example, to combat greed followed a system where if one member accrued too much, they would be forced to share it with the community.

dhw: See what I mean? Greed existed!

Xeno: So here's where we need to pause. I never said Greed didn't exist.

You wrote that “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.[/b]” And you pointed out that no police or armies were required. My own proposal was that our default position was “the same mixture of love and cooperation on the one hand, and selfishness on the other, that we find in our fellow animals[/i]”.

Xeno: What I'm very carefully trying to point out here is that by default, even though we're born with a mix of different drives, some more destructive than others, we're born social, with a predilection towards group survival. To have a predilection towards sociality means that we have instincts that drive us to glom into groups. Groups and tribes are the point I'm trying to make here, not that we're somehow born altruistic to all things great and small.

That is very different from saying that cooperation and mutualism tend to be our default mechanism (bolded above). I don’t think anybody would deny that we are social animals, but we are also individuals, and there is an individual default position for survival which can become a default position for all the destructive (i.e. non-cooperative) as well as all the cooperative elements of our nature. Basically, I was arguing against what I understood to be your belief, shared with the World Transformation Movement, that we are all naturally good. But if this was a misunderstanding, then please accept my apologies. My own view is that most people ARE essentially good, but that is NOT the default position, and the bad is just as natural.

I echo David's pleasure at the fact that you are adding new dimensions to our discussions, which are extremely welcome. And my thanks to George too, for starting us off on a new track!


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