Saturday, April 27, 2019

Balancing the natural tensions between group-selection and individual-selection

The principle of "duty before love" seems to have been more a royal, aristocratic, or leadership principle. I've thought about it from the perspective of group-selection and individual-selection.

Sociobiologist E.O. Wilson has found that there is a co-evolution between group-selection and individual-selection with group-selection paramount in successful human survival and reproduction. It's the balancing between these two that causes the natural tension: “Individual versus group selection results in a mix of altruism and selfishness, of virtue and sin, among the members of a society.” And so, morals and virtues developed.

This behavior seems to have evolved classes and hierarchies, which Georges Dumezil described as tripartite or trifunctional: priests, warriors, and commoners (farmers, tradesmen) corresponding to the three functions of the sacral, martial, and economic---at least among Indo-European's, who developed Western civilization.

From this perspective the king, priest and warrior, or leadership, would tend to put duty before love and favor group-selection, the producer's would favor individual selection but lean toward group-selection, and the commoner's would tend toward individual-selection.

That whole hierarchical class structure allowed for both duty and love. I suppose the royals got around it by living and marrying for duty but then taking on lovers. Effective warriors would need to be more strict about telling the truth. And commoners would get on with having babies. In ethnically homogeneous societies the natural tensions between group-selection and individual-selection would that way balance out.

This may be why totalitarian leaders who try to be all things don't last long, and why communist systems trying to do away with class structures don't work---it takes a whole ethnically homogeneous class structure (although not necessarily monarchies) for successful survival and reproduction over the long term.

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