Re: virus: Altruism, Empathy, the Superorganism, and the Priso ner's Dillema

Martz (
Wed, 30 Apr 1997 00:26:57 +0100

On Tue, 29 Apr 1997, "Wright, James 7929" <> wrote:

>I did not notice it in the 20th-22nd April messages; I now see how it
>might be interpreted from what you wrote. I did not make that
>interpretation at the time.
>I blew right past it in your message of the 24th. "Goodbye any altruistic
>gene they may have carried". I'm not sure I ever explicitly said there
>was any possibility of an altruistic GENE until the 25th; I was
>considering altruistic memes, and said so then, so if I was unclear I

I had considered the "gene for altruism" a necessary precursor. I'll
follow up on it next week.

>Alright, now it appears we are questioning whether the existing meme of
>altruism is "real" in the sense that the motive is genuine or "false" in
>the sense that those practicing it are deluding themselves that they are
>behaving unselfishly when they are in fact behaving in their own
>interest. I do not find this determinable.

Agreed. But we may be able to determine the most likely answer.

>>Oh, I think I see now. The current times of relative surplus (in terms
>>survival) are a short-termed phenomenon? [JW]
>>No, I'm afraid you don't see yet and I don't have time to go over the
>>ground again.<[M]
>As you wish.

Sorry. That was needlessly curt of me. I genuinely don't have time at
the moment but I'll collect my thoughts and post them soon. You can
respond to them if you're inclined to.


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