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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Aug 15·edited Aug 15

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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