virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Prisoner'sDillema

Reed Konsler (
Wed, 23 Apr 1997 14:41:47 -0400 (EDT)

>From: "Wright, James 7929" <>
>Date: Tue, 22 Apr 97 09:02:00 EDT

>Consider this; schooling and learning institutions are all cooperative in
>nature; if we all behaved competitively at all times, whoever learned
>something would immediately put it to use to out-compete the others,
>hoarding the knowledge for his own benefit and that of his descendants.
>Yet it is because of combined knowledge that we have universities,
>computers, books, etc. Without them we would all be poorer, and all live
>on a lower standard of living.

Um, James...what planet are you from? <VBG> I'm sorry, that was
intended as the lightest possible humor. I know this is somewhat beside
the point you were making, but...

While I am a great supporter of the academy as an experiment in
intellectual freedom I think you are conveying the "ideal" of education
in the same way the "ideal" of democracy was expressed in the
Constitution of the United States. In both institutions the reality
falls far short and often the ideological rhetoric is wielded as a
weapon by those in power while they seek their own self interest
"behind the curtian".

There is no ivory tower. Academics just compete via a different set
of rules. One of the great problems of education these days is that
it is so least, that is the perception voiced by a
number of people. In many ways my greatest frustration with
academics is that they time and again fail to live up to the ideal you've
described. Not that the attempt isn't's just that there aren't
more saints in education than are in law or business.


Reed Konsler