sams on March 02, 2011, 05:18:27 pm

I'm PRO-ABORTION,  retroactive abortion to be precise : Kill the featus and yourself in the process.

Retro-active abortion violates the ZAP.   ;D

that an inconsistency I can live with

SandySandfort on March 02, 2011, 06:33:02 pm
My society has thoroughly entangled my existence with the process of banking, and that entanglement gives me the necessary self-interest.  Yet I don't get much say in rules about banking,

Would you like some say? A couple of years ago, I figured out to create an entity in Panama that could offer most bank-like services without being regulated as a bank. If anyone on the list is interested in starting such an enterprise, contact me off-line, using encryption:

PGP Public Key:   http://sandfort.biz/sandy.asc
Hushmail Addr.:   planc@hushmail.com

If you do not know what that means, you have to install PGP or GPG on your computer. For Hushmail, you have to sign up for an account.


J Thomas on March 03, 2011, 12:34:29 am
I'm not aware of any historical text that shows, much less proves, how the state was originally started.  But assuming that they did indeed originally organized in order to defend against attacks, history clearly shows that this power structure was usurped and subverted by power hungry individuals who wished to control others:  witch doctors, kings, emperors, etc. 

The message of history should be clear enough.  You shouldn't organize in *those* ways for defense--instead you organize in ways that don't create a power structure  that can be usurped.
The existence of this usurpation was acknowledged by the book in question. But the assumption was that people did try to organize in other ways, as best they could, that left them more freedom.

But none of them worked.

Early anthropologists found a bewildering variety of cultures.

But while the anthropologists were doing their work, the British Empire was also at work. It sent soldiers everywhere the locals couldn't stop them where there was business to be done. Soldiers with modern bayonets and cannon, and later machine guns. They slaughtered armies that tried to oppose them. And everywhere they expected to see kingdoms, and where they didn't find anything that looked like a kingdom they established kingdoms.

The british army was special. There weren't many kingdoms that could withstand it, so a nonkingdom that could stop them would have been very special.

But there might have been other arrangements that worked until then. After the Borg comes through you can look around and say "See, you can look for other ways to set up a society, but there isn't anything that works except the Borg." But there could be lots of societies that work for everything except beating the Borg.

Plane on March 03, 2011, 12:38:48 am
But if we look at the book The Parable of the Tribes by Andrew Bard Schmookler, we see the origin of the State. First, farmers organized themselves to be able to defend themselves against predatory attacks by nomadic herdsmen. Then they conquered the herdsmen, and their states grew - in order to defend themselves against attacks by other similar states.


I think a tendancy to government predates agriculture quite a lot.

Let me reccommend this book A Primate's Memoir  http://www.amazon.com/Primates-Memoir-Neuroscientists-Unconventional-Baboons/dp/0743202414

This guy followed a troop of Baboons around for years and learned a lot about them, he says that baboons are organised a lot like High School society, the popular and the unpopular , the bossy and the bossed.

  The only a few primates do not form groups, and these groups usually form a hirarchy.

Human nature seems to include this tendancy to either look for leadership , or to compete for the leadership.


quadibloc on March 03, 2011, 02:46:24 am
But there might have been other arrangements that worked until then. After the Borg comes through you can look around and say "See, you can look for other ways to set up a society, but there isn't anything that works except the Borg." But there could be lots of societies that work for everything except beating the Borg.
That's true enough. And if this problem first cropped up during the Victorian era, when the British were colonizing the world, then one could say that this wasn't an argument against AnCap.

After all, for there to be a huge technological gap between societies would presumably be a rare occurrence.

But the problem of societies having to work for beating the Borg came up back in the days of ancient Egypt and Bablylon. That's what leads to the conclusion that however desirable a less-governed society may be, before we can opt for it, careful thought is required to make the world safe for this new, higher level of freedom.

I think a tendancy to government predates agriculture quite a lot.
Leadership with some power to initiate force does indeed predate agriculture. But leadership partly rested on respect, like that of Reggie King, and so it was kept within limits.

With the ancestors of humans, this was likely more true than with present-day chimpanzees. Our natural social organization is like that of the wolf. Not that of the chimpanzee, where the alpha male is the only one who can mate with the females when they're fertile. Or like that of many herbivores, where the alpha male has all the females in his harem.

No; like the wolf, each male has his own mate even though several males are together in a pack - the alpha male may have the prettiest one, or maybe have two (wolves don't do that, but humans do), but that's about as far as it goes.

It promotes survival for children to obey their parents. So there is a natural tendency to respect and follow leaders. But it's the larger stakes of warfare that followed agriculture that twisted this into the massive states running on brutal oppression that were the first civilizations. That's the process this book was describing.

mellyrn on March 03, 2011, 07:00:18 am
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careful thought is required to make the world safe for this new, higher level of freedom.

I heartily agree.

At least one researcher, Jaynes of The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, suggests that being a self, a conscious individual, is a relatively recent development.  Hierarchies may work well enough for the bicameral psyches of our ape cousins, but they're not really satisfactory to anyone who has any sense of self, of autonomy.  Even our toddlers object to being commanded, yet, collectively, we are probably still on the steeper parts of the learning curve.  Some people seem to positively panic at the idea of not being led, of not having an 'alpha'.  Others wonder what the heck anyone would even want one for.  But we've both kinds here, now, and we've got to work this out somehow.

Sometimes I despair of communicating with an alien race, when communicating with my own conspecifics is so problematic.

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Our natural social organization is like that of the wolf. Not that of the chimpanzee, where the alpha male is the only one who can mate with the females when they're fertile.

We're more like wolves?  Seems to me monogamy is a very recent meme.  Solomon and the King of Siam and even Little Big Man, dontcha know.

One other intriguing (if depressing) bit I once read noted a correlation between polygamy (and inter-sexual violence, alas) and sexual dimorphism:  species in which males and females differ significantly in size tend to be polygamous and violent (typically the larger sex against the smaller); species in which males and females are the same size tend to be monogamous and nonviolent.

Humans and most chimps show dimorphism.  Wolves and bonobos don't.

As for the chimp, the hierarchy means that the alpha male is the only one who's supposed to mate with the females when they're fertile, but females quite often sneak off in the bushes with beta males -- and some findings suggest that the alpha can be so stressed by maintaining his position that he suffers a drop in sperm count.  Both of these would help a troop retain a certain level of genetic diversity, if not all the progeny are sired by the same one.

J Thomas on March 03, 2011, 10:50:21 am

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Our natural social organization is like that of the wolf. Not that of the chimpanzee, where the alpha male is the only one who can mate with the females when they're fertile.

We're more like wolves?  Seems to me monogamy is a very recent meme.  Solomon and the King of Siam and even Little Big Man, dontcha know.

Lots of places, families tended to center around one husband and one wife. A sort of economic unit with division of labor. A man had to be pretty well off before a woman did better to be his second wife than to marry a poorer man.

Harems for kings perhaps provided security for surplus women. (If there were lots of women then the king wouldn't take the ones with the worst prospects, but he might take enough to reduce the imbalance.) And of course it gave somewhat-influential people a chance at the king's ear.

But monogamy? Gilgamish was supposed to have sex with every woman on her wedding night. STDs must have been uncommon then.

And Herodotus claimed that everywhere but Egypt and Greece, people had sex in the temples and not with their spouses. That also indicates a low incidence of STDs.

But the Torah describes such things happening. Abraham and Sarah did a repeated scam. They would travel to a new place, and Sarah would get taken into the king's harem. The harem would get an STD and the king would call his priests to find out what taboo he had violated. The priests would do arcane tests and announce that he had taken another man's wife. The king would find out that Abraham was also having sex with Sarah. "You said she was your sister!" "She is my sister. I was afraid to tell you she's also my wife because I was afraid you'd kill me and still take her." The king would then pay Abraham and Sarah a large sum of money etc to go away and never tell anybody. But they did tell, since it's in Torah. Later Jacob and Rachel did the same scam.

And Herodotus describes incidents where whole communities would get something that sounds like an STD. They would send gifts to an oracle who would tell them that they had sinned against somebody specific by doing something specific, and the oracle would assign them some difficult and expensive penance. By the time they completed the penance the disease would have run its course.

I think actual monogamy, as opposed to marriage with one husband and one wife, likely is pretty recent. It probably dates to the times that populations started getting large enough to maintain multiple dangerous STDs.

Quote
One other intriguing (if depressing) bit I once read noted a correlation between polygamy (and inter-sexual violence, alas) and sexual dimorphism:  species in which males and females differ significantly in size tend to be polygamous and violent (typically the larger sex against the smaller); species in which males and females are the same size tend to be monogamous and nonviolent.

Sure. If the largest males tend to get all the females, then males will get larger, even if they don't survive as well that way. Male elephant seals etc. A female elephant seal doesn't get a lot of choice -- she needs a beach, and she can take one that's protected by a giant male, or she can go to a beach that the remaining males are crowded on and maybe get killed while they fight over her and/or try to mass-rape her.

On the other hand if the largest males tend to survive wars, that would do it even without the polygamy. But if a lot of males don't survive wars, then why not do polygamy? The excess females have nothing better to do. And if the sort of men who survive wars tend to rough up their wives a bit the way they do foreign women after victories, that would be another side effect of their survival.

We can make up stories but it's hard to establish causation.

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Humans and most chimps show dimorphism.  Wolves and bonobos don't.

Humans aren't as dimorphic as the animals that do the most of polygamy. We're maybe kind of moderate both in our anatomy and our behavior. Extremely variable.

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As for the chimp, the hierarchy means that the alpha male is the only one who's supposed to mate with the females when they're fertile, but females quite often sneak off in the bushes with beta males -- and some findings suggest that the alpha can be so stressed by maintaining his position that he suffers a drop in sperm count.  Both of these would help a troop retain a certain level of genetic diversity, if not all the progeny are sired by the same one.

The way they used to tell that story, at least some of the time when a female went into heat all the males would line up and take turns with her. And consistent with that, chimpanzee males have great big testicles. The more sperm one male produces the better the chance that his outcompetes the others. Similarly, they have various seminal chemicals that tend to inhibit others' sperm but not their own. I also read that human males have some of those chemicals -- but not as much.

If one male is dominant enough, he could afford to have a lower sperm count.

These stories go every which way, depending partly on how you want to tell them. Some of it is science, and some of it is JustSo stories that make sense but that might be completely wrong. Further research will show up as the years go by.

mellyrn on March 03, 2011, 01:24:53 pm
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The excess females

Heh.  In terms of species survival, most males are "excess".

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it's hard to establish causation.

I wasn't going to go anywhere near causation; merely noting the correlation.

GlennWatson on March 03, 2011, 04:19:30 pm
ARRRG, three days describing a roller coaster ride.  Really?  This is about as exciting as someone describing what they dreamed last night.  This is worse than waiting in line for a roller coaster.  What next Reggie and his girl eating a sandwich?

spudit on March 03, 2011, 05:19:38 pm
Yes, but the Solar System's very wildest, very bestest sandwich ever!

This is what I believe is the origin of governments.

It has been observed that governments as such, beyond the best hunter leads the hunt because some has to and we're all hungry, started about the same time animals were domesticated. See the similarities in the procces, rewards, punnishment, safety at the cost of obediance. So horses and cattle were tamed, and so were the less powerful humans. To the king a peasant and a goat were not all that different.

That's one of the creepier things about the Bible to this heathen, all that sheep stuff.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 05:40:21 pm by spudit »
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NeitherRuleNorBeRuled on March 03, 2011, 05:59:31 pm
ARRRG, three days describing a roller coaster ride.

Three long days for those reading this on line.  Three short pages for the paying customers who buy the book (and provide money -- albeit fiat dollars with rapidly declining value -- to Sandy).

One gets what one pays for.

SandySandfort on March 03, 2011, 06:38:50 pm
ARRRG, three days describing a roller coaster ride.

Three long days for those reading this on line.  Three short pages for the paying customers who buy the book (and provide money -- albeit fiat dollars with rapidly declining value -- to Sandy).

It's like having an ice-based currency.  ::)

BTW, I wrote the thing to be scary, but I never had any idea how scary the artist could make it look. Kudos to Leila del Duca.

Obviously, there are readers who are knocked out by this arc. Others are merely put to sleep. That is why there are horse races; differences of opinion. Never fear, stuff you like will be there again before you know it. Until then, though, remember, patience is a virtue.  ;)

GlennWatson on March 03, 2011, 08:22:06 pm
Pay for comic books?  You must be joking.  That's so 19907

GlennWatson on March 05, 2011, 06:55:51 am
Whoops, I mean 1997.

quadibloc on March 05, 2011, 11:25:46 am
Obviously, there are readers who are knocked out by this arc. Others are merely put to sleep.
Well, I'm not worried. Although I'm in the "put to sleep" group so far, I'm not complaining. I care about the characters, and I'd rather not see them having to spend their rejuv money to repair the severe injuries of one of them. (I'm thinking of a famous short story about a pocket watch and some expensive hair curlers...

... finally remembered the title: The Gift of the Magi, by O. Henry.)

And it's my fault anyways. Things like roller coasters don't appeal to me - being like Reggie in that respect - so I haven't tried to project myself in the story and vicariously experience the most exciting roller-coaster ride in the Solar System.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2011, 07:15:52 pm by quadibloc »