Reply To: Suggestions of how discussions might be framed

  • Charles Rykken

    April 18, 2023 at 6:45 pm

    There is at least one idea that came from Karl Marx that I agree with. That is the statement that religion is the opiate of the masses. Let me clarify. There are a group of psychologists who work in an area called terror management theory. It is based on the book “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker. The denial is what I mean by opiate. Pure land Buddhism is an example of opiate based religion. There are two character flaws that are very widespread, namely cowardice and laziness. The masses want to live a simple life where they can pursue what Buddhists call the eight mundane concerns

    “These eight worldly concerns are: gain and loss, pleasure and pain, praise and blame, and fame and disgrace.

    These are the concerns that pervade most people’s daily lives. They are pervasive precisely because they are mistaken for effective means to attain happiness and to avoid suffering. “

    Doing abstract philosophy is appealing to only a very small minority of people and those who can do that competently are probably less than 1 in 1000. China and India have had their own versions of philosophy that are clearly holistic but if you look into the history of Hinduism or Buddhism, neither have been able to stop the gangster class from ruling their countries. Democracy began in the United States as an open confrontation with gangster government but with the robber barons and the McKinley administration the U. S. government has been wholly owned and operated by the gangster class. The 2014 article by Gilens and Page at Princeton University

    showed very well that the U. S. is a de facto fascist oligarchy.

    Recently, I discovered that the cost of sequencing a full genome has come down in cost to $100 to $300 and that very large gwas studies are popping up like mushrooms. Because it is screamingly obvious that people are different, the question for me is how much comes from heritable traits and how much comes from the environment. Epigenetics make this question extremely complicated but that doesn’t mean people should give up. My impression is that like most social scientists, Dr. McGilchrist comes down on the side that heritable traits are of no consequence. My impression may be mistaken. there is a very interesting article in pnas this year

    Multilevel cultural evolution: From new theory to practical applications

    My desire is to find where these two lines of research, the evolution of social structure and the evolution of heritable traits overlap.