reading giant porcupine, one can increase tribe size with impunity. And here we are, with nations of hundreds of millions, religions of billions, all organized around the reliability of belief in one another ’ s beliefs. Think the stock market is about economic fundamentals?
It ’ s a belief index. What keeps the nuke missiles in their silos? Belief that other nations believe they will be annihilated if they launch. Why will someone trade you a house for pieces of green paper? Because of the belief that everyone believes that green paper is valuable. Indeed, a good case can be made that belief in the reliability of the beliefs of others is the basis of global human society , regardless of how valid those beliefs are. It is what keeps our voracious economic systems viable (for the time being), but therein lie the seeds of today ’ s existential problems. TaaL: It ’ s funny how what starts out as a flaw can turn into an advantage. A violation of charge-parity symmetry in this universe allowed matter to exist rather than being entirely annihilated by equal amounts of antimatter after the big bang; the mistakes of flawed DNA copying allowed evolution to proceed; and the failure to distinguish between valid and invalid narratives allowed supernormal nonsense narratives to out-compete true ones for organizing value, perhaps allowing your species to do away with other human species. And POW! Here you are, filling your planet with fire-ape biomass, your heads full to overflowing with industrial-grade crazy, a culture-wide epidemic of apophenia. However, belief must eventually be tested against the “ rules of reality ” which determine what can happen in the physical world, and mythology – being a virtual thing – always ultimately fails at this. When that happens, people not only lose their belief, but more crucially their belief that others believe, and at that point things can get very busy very quickly. If one destroyed all religious texts and started from scratch, in a thousand years completely different beliefs and texts would replace them. If you destroyed all science books and documents, in a thousand years (assuming you still had enough energy surplus for science) they would all be
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