- 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?
- city vs. town
- urban vs. rural
- imitation > innovation
- spatial relationships
- comparative anthropology
- group think
- follow the herd
- Joseph Henrich
- human evolution
- evolution spirals
- Big History
- Feb 2022
Then, in 1862, Abraham Lincoln pulled the ultimate Manifest Destiny power move with the Homestead Act.
When pushing through ideas like the Homestead Act of 1862, one needs to additionally consider the long arc of history and plan for secondary level changes in decades or centuries hence. It may have been an economic boom for 50 years or so (and shouldn't giving away all that land account for something like that?) but what happens when that economic engine dies from lack of planning?
Could the land and space be given back to indigenous peoples again? Could it be given to immigrant populations which might have different economic drivers for their lives and concerns?
- Sep 2021
re had evolved, which the propagandists of discipline regarded with dismay. Josiah Tucker, the dean of Gloucester, declared in 1745 that "the lower class of people" were utterly degenerated. Foreigners (he sermonized) found "the common people of our populous cities to be the most abandoned, and licentious wretches on earth
Such brutality and insolence, such debauchery and extravagance, such idleness, irreligion, cursing and swearing, and contempt of all rule and authority ... Our people are drunk with the cup of liberty.
This sounds eerily like some of the same sorts of fears, uncertainties, and doubt that middle America has about our bigger cities. Though I'll note that broadly they feel like they're the party of "liberty" now.
This is an interesting data point in the long-running contention between the city and the countryside that seems to dominate large swaths of human history.