- Apr 2022
Humans’ tendency to“overimitate”—to reproduce even the gratuitous elements of another’s behavior—may operate on a copy now, understand later basis. After all, there might begood reasons for such steps that the novice does not yet grasp, especially sinceso many human tools and practices are “cognitively opaque”: not self-explanatory on their face. Even if there doesn’t turn out to be a functionalrationale for the actions taken, imitating the customs of one’s culture is a smartmove for a highly social species like our own.
Is this responsible for some of the "group think" seen in the Republican party and the political right? Imitation of bad or counter-intuitive actions outweights scientifically proven better actions? Examples: anti-vaxxers and coronavirus no-masker behaviors? (Some of this may also be about or even entangled with George Lakoff's (?) tribal identity theories relating to "people like me".
Explore this area more deeply.
Another contributing factor for this effect may be the small-town effect as most Republican party members are in the countryside (as opposed to the larger cities which tend to be more Democratic). City dwellers are more likely to be more insular in their interpersonal relations whereas country dwellers may have more social ties to other people and groups and therefor make them more tribal in their social interrelationships. Can I find data to back up this claim?
How does link to the thesis put forward by Joseph Henrich in The WEIRDest People in the World: How the West Became Psychologically Peculiar and Particularly Prosperous? Does Henrich have data about city dwellers to back up my claim above?
What does this tension have to do with the increasing (and potentially evolutionary) propensity of humans to live in ever-increasingly larger and more dense cities versus maintaining their smaller historic numbers prior to the pre-agricultural timeperiod?
What are the biological effects on human evolution as a result of these cultural pressures? Certainly our cultural evolution is effecting our biological evolution?
What about the effects of communication media on our cultural and biological evolution? Memes, orality versus literacy, film, radio, television, etc.? Can we tease out these effects within the socio-politico-cultural sphere on the greater span of humanity? Can we find breaks, signs, or symptoms at the border of mass agriculture?
total aside, though related to evolution: link hypercycles to evolution spirals?
- human evolution
- evolution spirals
- comparative anthropology
- city vs. town
- urban vs. rural
- follow the herd
- Big History
- imitation > innovation
- group think
- spatial relationships
- Joseph Henrich
- Dec 2021
Likewise, the filing cabinet cannot feed itself without user collaboration; indeed, without a user, the filing cabinet cannot even start its combinatory po-tential. Nevertheless, the card index is used as a true ‘communicative partner’ because it has proper autonomy. In a sense, the card index is fully dependent on and fully independent of the user. The inner structure is methodically ar-ranged so that the users, whoever they may be, can in principle use it; entries are linked so that once the combinatory potential begun, combinations repro-duce themselves and increase the available complexity in unexpected ways.34
There is an interesting analogy here worth pursuing:
This idea and its structure have lots of similarities to those of growth and evolution in Werner R. Loewenstein's The Touchstone of Life: Molecular Information, Cell Communication, and the Foundations of Life. What if we reframe RNA or mitochondria in the role of the filing cabinet? What emergent properties occur in these processes? What do these processes have in common?
I need at least some shorthand idea or word for talking about the circular evolving processes of life in Loewenstein's book. Maybe evolution spirals?
Think inputs and outputs.