This is what the last post was laying the groundwork for:
I'm reading Hobbes' "Leviathan," a philosophical treatise on the need for a State and why they evolved. If you aren't familiar with Hobbes, he's the one who said that the life of Man in his natural state was ,"solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short." Probably not an optimist, I'm thinking.
His premise and argument is that without a society that has standards as well as the will and power to enforce those standards, the strong will take from the weak not only because they can but because it is logically in their best interest to do so. Since trusting on any level leaves you vulnerable to the one you trust, mistrust is the best survival strategy and in this condition, without a State, the natural way of man is a war of all against all.
You can see the logic in this, but it didn't happen (much). Darwin stepped in.
In any given population there will be immense variation in any given trait. One of those traits will be trust. True, in most cases in the Hobbes World, trust is a negative. But if two people with trust hook up and form a partnership, their power- both to gather stuff in this eternal war and to watch each other's back- is a tenfold advantage over the other players in this war.
It is such an advantage that it counts as a change in the environment: With one or two of these partner units operating, the only effective survival strategy is to form one yourself. The farther you extend the trust, the bigger and safer becomes your unit. Betrayal can crash the whole unit- what might have killed one long ago now can destroy an entire tribe or culture. Natural selection moves on- the truer the trust, the longer lived the unit. Someone said that cooperation is the only hope for mankind. On a tribal level it already has been.
Thought for the day: There are things that we can do that are so powerful that they count as changes in the environment.
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