Monday, July 21, 2014

HBD Weakness

There is a frequent, though not universal undercurrent which sometimes becomes explicit, that the real value of understanding human genetics is something in the nature of group advantage, not individual ones.  This is rather paradoxical, as the commenting persons are often deeply individualistic, and seem only secondarily concerned with the perpetuation of their own progeny (or a double dosing of nieces and nephews).  The focus is very much on "how did we get here?" before "where are we going?"

Yet the other leaks out, often in the context of illustrations from science fiction and the societies we might hope for going forward.  A few sound eerily like Weston's speech translated by Ransom at the end of Out Of The Silent Planet. It has the advantage of transcending the merely national, I suppose, giving an observation point of centuries or millennia rather than our rather ephemeral countries.

It would be better if we at least did not punish improvements of ourselves going forward, nor normalise that which will weaken, impoverish, or diminish us. Fine.  But it is ultimately individuals who will live forever, and our causes and materials which will disappear.  Even if one does not believe that - and there are plenty in that group who do not - one might be cautious about anything which sacrifices the individual to the "greater good" going forward.  We might in a very few generations become folks we would disapprove of or even despise now. 

Those future beings will, of course, hold us in contempt because of their chronocentrism, and the belief that they are superior because they come later in time and can tell stories about how our primitive ideas turned into their better ones.  As that is precisely what we do now, we can expect that our descendants will not be worse at such such rationalisations. But for the time being, it might be better to say good is good; evil, evil, and feel confident that we are largely right.

2 comments:

Texan99 said...

That speech--and its translation into ordinary English by Ransom--imprinted itself on me decades back. I've never been able to listen to stories about the inevitable march of progress without thinking of it.

ymarsakar said...

Genetics isn't what people think. Genes activate or de-activate based upon what a person's journey is, and thus what passes on is not only the racial memories of beginnings, but also the human race's memories of struggle.

Thus individual efforts download into the racial pool of talents.

Exceptional individuals can spawn a clan of many more than what the original founder had. Hence, quality vs quantity. Which is better, 10 lives or 1 life?