Translated from Interlingua by the author, 5 and 6 November 2016
Modern humans live in a world that is vastly different from that of their congeners myriads of years ago, when they were all still hunter-gatherers. But they themselves have not changed much. So, in order to understand how modern people think, feel, and especially how they behave, I believe we must look at the struggle for life, the efforts for survival, of those people in the past, in the circumstances they were in then.
Population density was very low. Estimates for around 8000 years ago are that there were only 5 million people in the whole world. People lived in groups of 20 or 30 thirty people. To survive, cooperation between members of your own group was essential. Nobody could survive without cooperating. Altruism within the group was a necessity. People worked for the interests of other group members, as much as for their own interests.
The probability of meeting people belonging to another group was low, because the population was scattered. If an encounter took place, the necessity of mutual support, such as existed within the group, was absent. The others were rivals rather than friends. Hiding, or defensive or hostile attitudes were the best way to stay safe.
I think human feelings and behaviour are hardly rational, but largely instinctive, determined by genetic factors. The evolution of the species happens slowly. We are essentially the same humans as those who lived tens of thousands of years back.
That means the consequence of the previous chapter is a natural tendency towards discrimination, racism, and religious, political, ethnic and national conflicts; group prejudice and confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance; bullying of those who do not belong to our own group.
We see that in the new tribalism of the social media: what is valid and true on Twitter does not depend on facts, argumentation or truth; but on group membership. If you’re in the group, you are right. If you’re out, you’re writing rubbish and you’re not worth being read. Automatically and without a need to explain. Anyone who protests, is blocked.
This is a depressing conclusion. The idealism of the 1960s and 70s was all for nothing. A total illusion, because human nature is stronger. Therefore I think we must now try to find the solution departing from human nature, not without it or against it.
Let’s use those natural tendencies for reaching idealistic results, like harmony and peace.
Stay within the peaceful and cooperative atmosphere of your own group. Leave those outside the group alone and don’t bother them. That is very peaceful.
Integration is unnecessary! The public demand for integration is often a tyrannical attempt to force assimilation. The others have to become exactly like us. But why?
All people may maintain their own characteristics and identity, their individuality, both group wise and individually, within the rule of law. Distance promotes peace, harmony and diversity.
My idea seems similar to apartheid. The difference is I promote freedom and equal rights for all.
There are no objections against contacts with persons outside of your own group. They are not obligatory, but certainly permitted and recommended. All on a voluntary basis, or out of practical usefulness or in ad hoc situations.
As soon as such contacts are established, imagine that the interlocutor is part of your own group. Then instinctively the inclination towards peace and cooperation will surface, an altruism based on common interests.
This sense of inclusion in a group can be temporary or last longer. It can coexist with other senses of adherence to groups. For peaceful communication and interaction with others, none of the participants needs to give up their sense of identity.
In commerce, the seller wants to sell, at a price as high as possible. The buyer wants to purchase at a nice low price. The common interest is to arrive at a transaction acceptable to both parties.
In employment: workers don’t want to work too hard, at an optimal salary. The employer wants to keep employment costs low, to maximise profits. But in a profitable enterprise, employment remains and good salaries are affordable. So it is also in the interest of workers that the company they work for is profitable. A common interest. The company is the shared group, in which ideally all cooperate for a common goal.
In team sports, the team is the group.
In a neighbourhood, all the inhabitants have the shared interest of having clean streets, security, tranquillity, distraction, education, etc. Cultural diversity can coexist with the shared membership of the group of inhabitants of the neighbourhood.
Democracy and rule of law: these too are common interests, that can create a sense of group membership, and so an inclination towards living in the country in peace.