Chemical carrots

Monkeymagic has been listening to Dr. Robin Dunbar:

“Dunbar was talking about his new book, The Human Story. One of the ideas in it was that religion, myth and story-telling are cohesive forces – they offer ways to help us make the trade-off between short-term desires and long-term gains, and they oil the wheels in our social machinery.

Religious ecstasy, feeling at one with the (socially constructed) world, and that buzz of being in an audience watching something good all seem to be signs that opiates are beginning to float round our circuitry.

These chemical carrots exist as an aid to group-forming. But here’s the rub. These same carrots might also ensure that the group acts against any individual who might take away their high. The bigger the high, the bigger the aggression.”

The internet must be such a great petri dish for scientists like Dr. Dunbar. I met him once at a Cap-Gemini event examining how religions are built, but I forgot to ask him if he took note of online groupthink and flamewars.

» MonkeyMagic: The Flipside of the Collective is War.

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