Wednesday, January 23, 2013

We the sheeple...

Natural selection works by weeding out characteristics that are not well-suited to a given environment. Artificial selection typically works in the opposite fashion: by retaining traits that are deemed desirable rather than weeding out the less suited. Global industrial civilization provides a substrate for both of these modes of phenotype selection to operate simultaneously (and relatively rapidly) in humans: certain characteristics are being, intentionally or otherwise, selected against while others are systematically encouraged.

Consider the tendency toward blind obedience and its inverse, the drive for autonomy and authenticity. On one end of the spectrum, you have the highly obedient model consumer (How long are you willing to stand in line to get the latest iThing?). On the other you have fiercely independent and self-directed individuals whose mailing addresses are likely to include a cell block number. Civilization—and especially a global corporate industrial civilization powered by accelerating consumption—is no place for someone who values their capacity for autonomous thought and free choice. Your "fitness" is greatly improved if you can adopt a posture of unquestioning acquiescence. 

The human species is becoming increasingly docile. In a few more generations a Crazy Horse or a Malcolm X or a Bhagat Singh may be genetically impossible.

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