more than we should (a good and hopeful finding).
We are currently – in effect – playing dozens or hundreds of pri soner’s dilemma/tragedy of the commons ‘ games ’ where the correct behavior for all would be to cooperate, but if not everyone cooperates the correct response is to defect. Shifting this calculus toward cooperation (on many issues) is the challenge of our time. TaaL: On our world, we have a saying: “ Give a human a fish and he ’ ll eat for a day; teach a human to fish and his great-grandchildren will have to eat sand ” . I have pointed out how your aggregate human behavior is like that of an amoeba, with simple behavioral tropisms despite the high level of complexity which exists within your modern society. The examples above demonstrate how collective dysfunction can result from what seem to be eminently rational individual decisions, which is why my species tries to be very careful about individual self-interest: we seek to avoid the “human’s’ dilemma ” and the “ tragedy of the common fire-ape ” , as those situations have become known in our vernacular. There are many such “ rational ” calculations which lead to insane outcomes: I invite you to study the rational game-theory basis for the “ mutual assured destruction, ” “ launch on warning ” and “ dead hand ” doctrines of human thermo-nuclear brinksmanship, still in play and considered a resounding success … so far. I should probably note that there is another related problem which you yet have no name for, but which might be called the “ tragedy of the temporal commons. ” It involves another dimension to this category of problems: that of deep time, in which a potentially infinitely renewable commons is only accessible to those in the present. Future humans are utterly unable to enforce sane policy on their own past, and so are subject to the high probability of a toxified hothouse world with little to eat. As is always the case, human problems in various contexts boil down to an underlying brain problem. In this case, it ’ s the dependability of individual humans to act in their own perceived self-interest rather than in their species and world ’ s interest, which makes some outcomes nearly mathematically inevitable and keeps the aggregate amoeba growing like a cancer, illogic emergent from logic. There ’ s a better way: you need to try some warp-speed cultural evolution to bootstrap you out of these destructive behavioral feedback loops. It actually is possible to not behave as a collection of individual sociopaths, and humans have often achieved this on smaller scales. It ’ s possible to abandon
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