Well said. And I rather suspect that the core of the matter is deeper than Culture – and that would be an extended conversation. But it is certainly not about rule change and redesign, I think.
Right on, as your imminent study of evolutionary psychology will confirm. I reckon we don't have time for evolutions in our Pleistocene genome to catch up to (and get ahead of) our impact on the planet, so we're just gonna hafta run what we brung. That means cultural engineering and we already have been shown how to do it by the Oligarchy. What's it gonna take to shift the values-balance from hegemonistic concentration at any cost to something closer to sustainability? But then, that's a whole ‘nother conversation barely touched-on in the message below…
The attached was inspired in part by this conversation and particularly the slide show that I got from Alexander, attached for convenience. It was in draft to the Archbishop of Washington and the Nuncio. It's too complicated and I do not expect them to acknowledge it. Welcome comments. What I am starting to see with this conversation is the urgency of getting the various religions, with special emphasis on the US evangelical Christians based in Texas (oil money) and the Catholic Church (as host in October 2011) interested in shared Earthly truths (e.g. on health and water, education is harder).
The people are not stupid, just ignorant. Public intelligence in the public interest is achievable–knowing the “true cost” of stuff does change behavior. What I take from Alexander's slide show is that religions, not governments and certainly not corporations, are the most viable candidates for taking on the cultural challenge–if they can agree to truth and reconciliation among themselves.
Religion, yes, but weak because the religious conversation is so implicit and relies on so many unstated values. But good for starters. In fact, there is a whole movement in fundamentalist (and not-quite-so fundamentalist) Christianity for usufruct (a great Old Testament word) husbandry of the planet. Among more secular types, this is called “spiritual ecology.” Religious conversation is a great stealth entry into the cultural evolution advancement we seek.
The human mind evolved to believe in gods… Acceptance of the supernatural conveyed a great advantage throughout prehistory, when the brain was evolving. Thus it is in sharp contrast to [science & engineering] which was developed as a product of the modern age and is not underwritten by genetic algorithms.
E.O. Wilson, The Biological Basis of Morality
Popular theology is a massive inconsistency derived from ignorance. The Gods exist because nature herself has imprinted a conception of them on the minds of men.
Cicero, De Natura Deorum, I, 16
The highest-potential modality is through the young, those under 25 (sorry, not 30, this represents a kind of developmental inflation). Despite their conditioning, these still have some brain plasticity and some mental agility, and are not yet totally consumed in the motoric social routines and integrity-preempting allegiances that so disempower (most of) their elders.
Young members of Oligarchic factions are a subset of the general young population, and although most are firmly embedded into the Oligarchic system, not all fully believe their own propaganda. One reason is that most young Oligarchs still receive a better education, concentrating on processes and methods instead of “facts.” Basically, though, they are as emotionally ruthless to members of other tribes as are their elders (and that is simply an aspect of being human – no especial curse on them for that).
And it's not necessary for the various religions to reconcile their prior differences; all they need to do for our purposes is set them aside long enough to deal with a common threat. Then posturing motivated by status-seeking “leaders” can kick back in. “Us versus them” can be aimed at any convenient “other;” after all, tribes are small (and affiliated tribes can comprise a coherent “us”) and the whole rest of the universe is a grim-reaper threat of the unknown (with a bit of unknowable thrown in for good measure) and known “them.” Again, algorithmic behaviors. The enemy of my enemy is almost certainly not my friend, but we can work together for a while to deal with a shared threat, “in God's name.” Once that's done, it's back to the long knives about who has the corner on God's largesse. It's always going to be messy and unstable.