Once all humans lived in an animalistic state of true anarchy, but over time, ideologies evolved as languages mutated. These ideologies (memeplexes) repress our instincts and alter our behavior to maximize their own propagation. Two of the critical survival instincts targeted are the aggressive and reproductive (sexual) drives. The majority of attempts to categorize political views, religions and ideologies (all memeplexes) have been based on mythology, doctrine and esoteric/abstract concepts that are largely irrelevant to biological survival. The chart above was created by counting the number of sexual and aggressive behaviors present in the respective ideologies, and then plotting the normalized sums. We will now examine a few ideologies and their effects on human behavior.
It should be clear to anyone familiar with social carnivores and chimpanzees that animals have few inhibitions in the areas of sexuality and aggression. We will label this behavioral set as “animalism.” One might consider ideologies such as that of Nazi Germany to be higher up on the axis of aggression, but this is due to a knee-jerk reaction. While the scale of Nazi violence surpassed anything in the spectrum of nonhuman biological behaviors (with the exception of the actions of pathogens and perhaps army ants), even the Nazis did not practice the sort of casual nonchalant free-for-all in-group aggression of lions at a kill or condone cannibalism. One might also think that certain ideologies might be higher on the sexual scale, but few (if any) ideologies surpass the casual sexuality and promiscuity of chimpanzees, bonobos and frogs.
In spite of the truly astonishing amount of aggression observed in Nature, true hierarchies have not been found in the nonhuman animal world. An ant “queen” does not relay orders down a chain of command, a chimpanzee does not report his comrade’s “transgressions” to the dominant coalition, and a lion does not issue edicts to his pride – which even if he did, the pride would not feel “morally” compelled to follow in his absence! Pecking orders certainly exist, but these are not hierarchies. A “subordinate” animal merely chooses to sometimes avoid challenging a “dominant” (stronger) animal or coalition due to the pragmatic desire to remain in the group and/or avoid further injury. In due course, coalitions will fracture, the strong decay, and the subordinate might make a move when the time is right. Animal societies exist in the purest state of anarchy – there are no true rulers or rules other than those of Nature itself.
While the groups of hunter-gatherers are properly referred to as bands, the memeplexes of both tribes and bands are close neighbors whether they subsist by hunting, foraging, gardening, farming or herding. They deviate from animalism primarily by inhibiting in-group aggression and expanding incest taboos. Due to a sexual division of labor, rampant promiscuity is discouraged in some groups, but polygamy is generally still considered acceptable.
It is interesting to note that the extreme aversion to sexuality and aggression found in certain mutations of “Abrahamic” faiths today is entirely absent in the scriptures of the ancient Hebrew tribes. While the Hebrews had numerous taboos regulating sexuality and aggression, most of them consisted of prohibitions against incest, adultery and the killing of fellow Hebrews. David, Joshua and Samson were utterly ruthless genocidal warriors and both David and Solomon had numerous wives and concubines, yet all of these were considered to be great heroes and beloved by God.
Nationalism and the “Revolutionaries”
With the advent of nation-states, agriculture and writing, the evolution of ideas began to outpace the rate of genetic evolution. The definition of an in-group was greatly expanded (requiring further constraint of aggression) and only those who demonstrated loyalty to the system were encouraged to reproduce. Populations exploded and natural selection was replaced by memetic selection. Paradoxically, ideologies such as Communism and Islam that arise from within (and seek to overthrow) the system do not differ substantially in their repression of human behavior. Revolutionary ideologies merely redefine the in-group, and when they topple the current system, shape-shift into that which they once sought to destroy. From the perspective of an animal, life in Nazi Germany, the Islamic Caliphate, Communist China, the American Empire or whatever state fills the vacuum of a hypothetical “revolution” look much the same.
Lethal Mutations and Memetic Singularity
When Nations transform into Empires that are impervious to external attack (for the time being) and have limitless resources and food, bizarre mutations in memeplexes are able to emerge and horizontally spread like wildfire, ultimately leading to the collapse of Empires and reversion to more animalistic states. The advent of mass, instant communication exponentially accelerates this phenomenon. These memeplexes are very short lived and are able to persist only due to writing. Christianity is an excellent example of this. In its complete and original form, it has never been present at any time in more than a handful of human minds except during its initial emergence in the Roman Empire. How can this be when millions of people claim to be Christians today? The vast majority are Christian in name only and do not follow many of the actual teachings of Jesus. In practice, these people are nationalists, capitalists and supporters of war and oppression – the very opposition of Christian ideology. They merely use the word “Christ” as an in-group identifier.
However, “new” analogs of Christianity ARE spreading rapidly – secular humanism and new mutations of socialism – Christianity without Christ, as well as truly schizoid and muddled ideologies like libertarianism and pseudo-anarchy. The writing is on the wall, but this time around, the aberration of human memetic repression might be in its final death throes. Never in history have all memeplexes and humans been so interconnected and dependent on complex technology and rapidly diminishing finite resources. The Singularity is arriving, but it is unlikely to turn out as the worshipers of technology predict.