Continued from here.
Surveying the state of science looking for possible paths to such a future, all serious possibilities must inherently support and produce continuous evolution of the total system and it’s increasing complexity. That requirement of improvement as continuous as possible meant a high rate of failures in everything, personal through large-scale business. I had to design the system so those normal cycles, known to be proportional in size and impact to the total system’s size and complexity. Preventing those failures was the major flaw of the present system, and the overgrowth of oligarchy and government the inevitable result.
Human minds were clearly failing to keep up with the complexity that we already had. The Western World’s suicide rates rise dramatically, and a public health official treats it as a medical problem, for example. Instead of the entire government treating it as an early warning sign of very bad times and an urgent need to reassess the idea of policy as a guide to better futures, and the current organization of society and the mental health of modernity. That kind of analysis would be routine in a rational society, one organized for genuine progress and thereby producing longevity of institutions, rather than one trying to impose an order via propaganda, legalism, financialization and policing power. Those were surely the first steps in any meaningful reform, I thought.
So, the key was intelligence as one of the primary goals. But that wouldn’t help if the intelligence were harnessed to the same base human nature as we have now. Increased intelligence and a more humane human mind I thought was possible, but we designers of new civilizations are not Gods, changing base human nature has to be a cooperative task, and that means entirely voluntary, driven by reasons of rational, local, self-interest.
So, what to do about base human nature? What was base human nature?
My first cut, and I was to do very much more detailed analysis of the evidence in the future, was : After biology invents sex to deal with disease and parasites, selecting mates has a lot to do with your genetic future, something your genes are very concerned with, even if you aren’t aware of them. So the attributes your species uses to judge the best mate and the way they use them are, in total, sexual selection. Humans definitely have those selectors, and we can see how they have defined many aspects of human behavior and physiology and anatomy.
Continuing sexual selection of these attributes was driving the evolution of humans and much of their culture. Sexual selection was entirely responsible for human’s increasing intelligence and their desire for status, ideally all of artistic, intellectual, social and economic status, but any advantage in any one would help. That was very positive, and the different mental sets of men and women were a big asset to the society, so I didn’t want to affect that part of people’s genetics and culture.
With a wide range of variation, nature made the sexes different : Several distinctive sets of sexual proclivities and mental sets to fit as well as gradations. Dominant socially masculine pursues shy and retiring feminine is a prominent dynamic, again with wide social ranges widely accepted across individuals and societies. In that dynamic, men desire sex with as many women as often as they can execute it. Women want sex much less frequently most of their lives and with one man who will help raise their children. This is a most-stable relationship in human procreation, but the different strategies the two sexes adopt in this genetic competition of mate against mate have been the source of a great deal of discord and cost in the society.
In this dynamic, women marry as much status as they can achieve, meaning the best genetics combined with the best chance of rearing many children. Men marry young beauties, meaning the best genetics and longest reproductive life.
Most societies were monogamous, and thus both men and women settled for best mate they can get in their individual value systems. Fine, as nature intended, but then both try to improve their odds in their life’s genetic lottery, men by screwing every available woman, women by having illicit lovers of superior status and thereby judged-to-be-superior genetics. Add sneaky genes and faulty phenotypes and there are a wide variety of ranges and intensities of desires loose in the society. Nature produced all of those also, the same ranges of proclivities and strategies arise and are used widely in the animal kingdom in sexually-selected species. But in humans, with our ability to make weapons and kill, we have a high death rate wherever the population densities permit a level of sustained conflict : cumulative 30% through the life of men in New Guinea in olden times, with men fighting over women the chief cause.
We could tolerate all of that as the price of being a sexual species ahead of the parasites, except that the drive of men to dominate women and impregnate as many as possible drives not just their need for status, their philandering and attempts to move societies to polygamy, inherently unstable, it also drives the attacks on others to seize their women, and thus escalates to mass against mass, armies, warfare and plunder. That ancient pattern is behind the rises to power, and underlies the ready use of force in conflicts between men. Very negative-sum, and the striving for power is one of both insecurity and lust, roots of the drive for centralization. Fix men’s desire for ever-more sex with more women and women’s need for lovers with better genetics, and we can eliminate centralization and war and most of the killing of men by men.
It did not seem to me possible to change genetics fast enough to affect the current state of politics, as the level of gene splicing technology required to change a population and knowledge of how to do that safely is likely infeasible ever, much less with current technology or reasonable extrapolation thereof, so the genetics of people as they were was the best I could do. Plenty good enough, as they had gotten civilization to this level despite the most amazingly incompetent rulers it is possible to imagine. Perhaps even one as enlightened as I will be seen that way 100 years in the future. I hope so, it is a sure sign of civilization’s advance.
One thing was clear : this had to be nonviolent all the way. Tools make the leader. If you want a positive-sum society, you cannot allow leaders to arise via negative-sum means and their means of influencing the future also needs to be positive-sum. My plans would produce the leaders of the next generations, they had to be the right people winning with the right tools, whatever that social contest was.
I did not want to build institutions: building any hierarchy or institution means you build limits. Small units cannot so easily undertake large projects. Larger units cannot maintain innovation and tend political and centralized. Large secret units cannot govern themselves effectively and inevitably become mafias. I could only design small units, family and small business. However, with the correct knowledge and attitudes and set of people in a small business consisting of a group of families of differing social organizations, but allowing a super-family-business organization of some kind, people those could combine in any way, provided the links were contractual and thus temporary, even if long-term. That allowed big projects as well as the rapid advances possible with distributed inventions and lots of bandwdith for sharing information.. Given economies that generate enough value, such systems could be made stable, if I could prevent the long-term, permanent compacts.
But first, I had to solve the problem of more intelligence. The ongoing efforts to improve thinking were providing steady and consistent improvement in the minds of individuals, tho that had had remarkably little effect on institutions, which uniformly had gotten less capable of dealing with reality over the years. But that natural rate of progress was not going to be enough to overcome the deficit of intelligence + good values that civilization had accrued as a result of its many centralizations over so many years. Overcoming that total deficit of trust and society and environment required a revolutionary change, and would take several generations. I really needed something that would have more immediate effect.
Genetic improvement probably could not help even over much longer periods, as humans were both too genetically uniform and we didn’t have nearly enough information on the genetics of intelligence. We have overcome those limitations of genetics for somatic attributes in animals and plants, for which we can select and cull brood stock, by breeding uniformity. However, this cannot possibly work for intelligence, as we know that measures such as IQ are not reliable measures of the genes underlying intelligence : correlations with many genes identified as related to intelligence are all weak, and we know IQ is strongly affected by environment, e.g. childhood diseases and parasites as well as gradually matching cultural understandings that allow doing well on IQ tests are likely the reason for the rise in IQs of families that immigrate. Our greatest geniuses come from the masses every few generations.
Next, there are many different kinds of intelligence, and these are not checked by IQ tests e.g. the perfect memory for place upon the earth and constant mental reference for the absolute cardinal directions possessed by Australian Aborigines and expressed in everyday speech. (Davy Crockett shared that memory for place and direction.) That mental attribute just happened to come to some psychologist’s attention and they showed it was genetic, all Aborigines possess it. Mathematical ability is strongly associated with the ability to visualize relationships and scenes, so we would like a way of merging such brains.
My goal, I decided, is a step function in mental capacity. The many savants, and the research showing that ordinary individuals had savant capacities were the class of minds that I had to produce. A few savants of more human sort could have an immediate effect in getting this new civilization off the ground. That was a resource that could possibly bootstrap itself quickly. This would take some thought.
In psyops, the message is the op.
*Generalissimo Grand Strategy, Intelligence Analysis and Psyops, First Volunteer Panzer Psyops Corp. Cleverly Gently Martial In Spirit
Unrelated addendum : reading this via some link or other, and am so amazed to see an article on eusocial insects that does not have a single reference to E. O. Wilson, I can hardly stand it.