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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Andrew Cutler

Here is perhaps some biochemical grist for your mill regarding apparent female 'retreat' from social dominance: https://larryturner.substack.com/p/cognitive-downsides-of-modern-oral. Sounds like estrogen pulses in fertile pre-menstrual women make them periodically (sic) smarter/better decision-makers than most of the men around them because of temporarily decreased COMT enzyme activity caused by high estrogen states occurring during certain parts of menstrual cycle (and throughout pregancy). It's also been observed that women with especially diminished COMT enzyme activity [female COMT (Met,Met) bearers], generally avoid "transgressors" rather than pursue conflict with said transgressors. Possibly former matriarchal dominance based on better female decision-making abilities was eventually abandoned by women when the COMT (Met, Val) and COMT (Met,Met) genotypes gradually became more predominant in human populations, and women accordingly retreated from a former attitude of matriarchal confrontation with male (and other) trouble-makers. The COMT (Val,Val) genotype, as you might know, is the ancestral or wild-type COMT genotype -- and it is this genotype that is most benefited cognitively by the influence of the estrogen-rich parts of the female menstrual cycle. See https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/ase/121/3/121_130731/_html/-char/en for more speculation in this direction.

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Very interesting connection. In the post on EQ vs IQ I experimented with a toy model of what selection can do on psychological traits over a couple thousand years...much less time than agriculture has been around. That section: https://www.vectorsofmind.com/i/130101130/plato-aristotle-socrates-morons

The connection between agriculture and the "snake cult" is also interesting. Demeter, for example, associated with the Eleusinean Mysteries. She and her helper Triptolemous are said to have spread agriculture on a chariot of snakes. The other cultures liked the new way to get food, but were not a big fan of the way Demeter would throw their young men in the fire to turn them into men. What I mean is that, even if there are correlations between agriculture and not, some of the selection may be due to cultural riders (or maybe the agriculture was the rider).

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Aug 15, 2023Liked by Andrew Cutler

Maybe it's dopamine riders all the way down (or up).

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Dec 4, 2023Liked by Andrew Cutler

Your counting time link is broken, pointing to an unrelated article.

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Thanks, good to know some people read the links! Fixed

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Aug 15, 2023·edited Aug 15, 2023

Implicit in the hypothesis that cultural themes diffused so quickly and so thoroughly is that they were really fundamental to the worldviews of peoples gaining cognitive recursion. In fact, as I think I recall you writing previously, the themes (such as the "I" pronoun) and the brain's recursive ability would have co-evolved (you went beyond just culture and suggest it culminated in gene-culture coevolution).

Given that, it strikes me that the widely diffused myths, practices, and artifacts of this article seem somewhat removed from the earth-shaking worldview changes, psychic turmoil, and sociological disruptions that would have been introduced by recursion and by individual minds having to deal with the revealed knowledge. These themes, by contrast, seem like quirky, random decorative behaviors and beliefs with no inherent connection to those forces. Hook swinging was one of the Top Ten most important practices that the early evangelizers felt compelled to spread to all their neighboring clans? Really??

I am trying to imagine what might have been some of the more fundamental worldview changes and social practices triggered by recursion. Maybe they're now so embedded into our behavioral norms and unrecognized priors that we can't even see them...?

EDIT: I suppose an alternative interpretation could be that there was actually a memeplex of 100 of these behavioral practices but these were the only 10 that survived long enough for us to be aware of them today. But I think I would still have the same objection: these do not, on the surface, seem like they would have been so much better, so magnificently effective, at stabilizing socioculture, that they would have been the last successful survivors.

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>Implicit in the hypothesis that cultural themes diffused so quickly and so thoroughly is that they were really fundamental to the worldviews of peoples gaining cognitive recursion.

"So quickly"...30,000 years!

> it strikes me that the widely diffused myths, practices, and artifacts of this article seem somewhat removed from the earth-shaking worldview changes, psychic turmoil, and sociological disruptions that would have been introduced by recursion

This list does include some fundamental stuff. As for hook swinging, it's really about death and rebirth, which is fundamental to many initiations and worldviews. Jesus, for example (who in turn was influenced by Dionysus and a host of other death-and-rebirth self-sacrifice gods who are very often hung on a tree. In regards to initiation, often one goes in, "dies" and then is given a new name, your true identity. This includes knowledge of how humans came to be different from animals, and the creation of the world. I make fun of the Freudian article on bull-roarers, but it's actually a great resource for how fundamental the bull-roarer complex is to many indigenous beliefs. Here's a link (email me if you want a pdf): https://www.jstor.org/stable/2800206

In this article I focused on the best evidence of diffusion, not what I think the whole package was. I haven't written anything directly on that, but the snake cult, pronouns, and Eve Theory posts all contain various fundamental ideas that seem to spread (or emerge) at around that time. Another good resource is The Origins of the World's Mythologies, by Wetzel. It includes primordial matriarchy and serpents, but spends the most time constructing an entire cosmological storyline that is widespread throughout the world. Answering the "who we are and how we got here" questions that naturally follow recursion/introspection.

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'I suppose an alternative interpretation could be that there was actually a memeplex of 100 of these behavioral practices but these were the only 10 that survived long enough for us to be aware of them today. But I think I would still have the same objection: these do not, on the surface, seem like they would have been so much better, so magnificently effective, at stabilizing socioculture, that they would have been the last successful survivors.'

Perhaps the more important members of the memeplex are too fundamental and widespread to be noticed?

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In Joseph Campbell's The Power of Myth, he describes the horror cults of Papua New Guinea, where one of the initiates every year is actually sacrificed. After describing the manner in which this is accomplished he says "and of course this is the same ritual as Christians perform every week at Mass."

That possibility was a motivator to read and review The Immortality Key: https://www.vectorsofmind.com/p/the-immortality-key-forgets-that

For a more systematic account of what may be included The Origins of the World's Mythologies by Wetzel is a good place to look (available on LibGen). Also see my comment above to Little Kenny for some other ideas.

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"Perhaps the more important members of the memeplex are too fundamental and widespread to be noticed?"

Yes that's what I am thinking. Now I am challenging myself to get outside my blinders and try and put a finger on some of those...

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"I am trying to imagine what might have been some of the more fundamental worldview changes and social practices triggered by recursion. " separating the world from self for starters, then selfing and worlding in integrated fashion with others... so we can society along more better & stuff

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thanks to the OP for the spark of these thoughts …. — backlink to an expanded version of this comments --- https://whyweshould.substack.com/p/seeing-the-self-for-the-world-we

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