Saturday, August 20, 2011

Group behavior


It’s hard jumping modern-day hoops:
We feel like we’re cowards and dupes;
Human history is long
And some feelings feel wrong
‘Cause we evolved to live in small groups.

Some believers might call it libel,
But the true economic Bible
Is what we evolved in:
To live with involved kin,
Within an arrangement that’s tribal.

The anthropologist describes
How we used to live in small tribes;
We evolved to fit there
With the least wear and tear—
A bigger scene gives us bad vibes.

Single tribe populations
Follow one leader’s inspirations;
No common cause meeting
Comes from global competing
Tribal identifications.

Socialization prescribes
That one’s group has the only good vibes;
Now where be your gibes?
Well, let’s ask our scribes:
You displace them onto other tribes.

Scapegoating’s what humans do,
It’s focused on outnumbered few;
This is our norm,
We’ll never transform
And some folks are going to hate you.

Projection is one of those themes
Which have shown up since ancient regimes;
With allies, our schemes
Become obscene dreams
While for big fights we choose up big teams.

To which group do you think you belong?
Choose up sides, and hope yours is strong;
Then join in a fight:
You’ll always be right,
And the other side totally wrong.


Let’s take a more accurate view,
Much below angels which we construe:
We’re not quite so sweet
Competing to eat,
But that’s simply what animals do.

We live eating life which we slew,
Often leaving a mess when we’re through;
But it must be O.K.,
Behaving that way
Because animals do that too. 


"The Primitive Law of Man":
The alpha guy maintains the clan;
Religious coercion,
More forceful assertion
How strange old societies ran!

The new “greed is good” revelation
Turns out to include domination;
It sounds not so nice
When being precise:
More than greed, it’s exploitation.

Both robots and corporations have flaws,
But they’re different, and that is because
Robots are machines,
While corporate screens
Hide people who rule behind laws.

They’re busy, studying their charts,
To find demographic weak parts;
Then they’ll focus all blame
On those whom they’ll frame
Before undisguised killing starts.

Now listen to me, and agree,
God’s and Nature’s laws I do decree;
Take care you obey!
And oh, by the way,
The rules are for you, not for me.

If you’d like to discard tribal law
And imagine you’ll like nature raw,
Please don’t forget
There’s also some threat
From Nature, red in tooth and in claw.


It’s nice to be nice, of course,
But talk alone just makes you hoarse;
From the time that we’re born
Till when relatives mourn,
It’s all is based on physical force.

Brains vs. brawn is now chatter,
But after the poo starts to splatter,
And when might makes right,
It’s not so polite.
If you don’t have the brawn, it won’t matter.

And this is the saddest of all
As intellect proceeds to pall:
We’ll worsen our plight
As brute might makes right
In civilization's fall.


Consider the Lord of the Flies
Before we all say our goodbyes;
The difference is clear:
No grownup comes here
To stop to stop everybody’s demise.

The world’s like a great big playground,
Where oftentimes bullies are found;
Based on what I have learned, 
I’m very concerned
That we don’t have a teacher around.


Our social self, which we all feign,
Evolved right along with our brain,
So we must derive
It helped us survive;
Then what do we mean by insane?

When madness is put on a scale,
The tribe’s shaman decides what is fail—
After consultation
With gods of creation
And advice from the tribe’s alpha male.

Sanity’s defined by the norm,
So there’s pressure on you to conform;
You’re crazy? That’s rumors.
Hang here with your doomers
And watch from the eye of the storm.


When I hear about any new Zen,
I get deja vu once again;
In the sixties we tried
That same giddy ride,

And our chances were much better then.

If you’re asking which course to pursue,
Evolution says we’re almost through;
In the great cosmic game
Things will end up the same
No matter whatever you do.

The ant counseled food preservation,
But the grasshopper chose celebration;
When global starvation
Kindled conflagration,
They both got a burning sensation.

An alternate world is a spot
Where we’d like to escape but cannot;
What we actually know
Shows us nowhere to go,
So we’re stuck in the world that we’ve got.


Stored up wealth, since times agrarian,
Led to power totalitarian;
In just a short while
A subsistence lifestyle
Will make us more egalitarian.

Together we wonder, “How soon
Will we be down to rags and a spoon?”
So let’s make that link
And all raise a drink
To a supportive online commune.

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