Kevin Aylward B.Sc.
This paper applies Replicator theory to some aspects of psychology. It is anticipated that many will not like the ideas, despite the fact that it is an inevitable conclusion of evolution. Entities that were not selfish, i.e. acting fundamentally in their own interests, simple did not replicate as efficiently, and therefore pass themselves as memes and genes down through the evolutionary chain.
This authors position is that the only way to understand the psychology and sociology of an individual is to recognize that all individuals are fundamentally selfish. That is, nothing makes sense in socio-psychology unless it is understood from a stance of its basic evolutionary foundations of maximizing the numbers of Replicators.
Humans Are Fundamentally Selfish
It has been shown that in every single case an emotion can be identified as instigating behavior in the interests of the individual experiencing such emotion. Therefore such emotions may be said to be selfish. It is therefore held that:
everything individuals think do and say is inherently for the purpose of self interest.
The immediate objection to this statement, is of course, how dose one explain that individuals give to complete strangers, say 3rd world countries?
When people do what is perceived of as unselfish, what feeling is introduced? Most often they feel "good". That is they are satisfying a selfish need to feel good. Its something they like to feel. Additionally, being considered by others as selfish will itself will instigate bad feelings that we don't like, giving more motivation to claim that such behavior is not selfish In rare cases where a non emotional response is made, one can appeal to trivial facts such that, for example in religions, one is told that giving will result in everlasting life for you.
Stand back and imagine actually doing something for someone else with the only result is that you feel bad about it? Will you actually do it?. No, of course not. Only if you feel "it is the right thing to do" will you do it, and it is explained how such a "feel good" emotion can arise irrespective of whether or not it is in the real ultimate interests of the individual. Emotions are programmed by morals, and such programming can make individuals feel good even by committing suicide as a result of a miss directed belief that such action was in their best interests, e.g., 72 virgins in the next afterlife.
Of course, people do things that they feel bad about and that they don't want to do if given a choice, for example, a job they don't like doing. However, they do this because they truly perceive it is in their net best interest, i.e. money to live on. If individuals truly thought that it wasn't in their net best interests, the wouldn't do it. Its that simple. The only exceptions to this are cases like head banging, that is people who compulsively, for no rational reason at all, keep hitting their heads against the wall causing much physical damage. However, this is well understood to be a real mental impairment of the individual such that psychiatric help is required.
Marketing professionals are well aware of this basic, undeniable, intrinsic aspect of human nature. A good marketing plan is generally directed by a "this is good for you" approach, not a "this is what makes us money" approach.
It has been held that fundamentally all humans are selfish, that is they always act in their own perceived self interest Therefore, "bad" behavior is, essentially, a natural state of affairs, despite much misguided claims to the contrary. "Bad" behavior is often "good" for the individual, that is why they do it, not because they are "maladjusted" in any real sense. The reality is that society has to adjust natural behavior, to behavior that is more option for the interests of all individuals based on the application of the prisoners dilemma. That is, bad behavior can be more detrimental to the instigator of such bad behavior in the long run.
There are many dubious daily rag newspapers columns putting forward all sorts of dubious psychological theories about why what is considered bad has arisen. One of the most common is the idea that males that go around cheating on their wives, have some sort of fundamental "psychological problem". For example, a deviant feeling of "lack self worth", "compensating for deficiencies" or "immaturity". Quite bluntly, this is complete nonsense. Millions of years of evolutionary programming of genes and memes mandate that males will attempt to mate at every reasonable opportunity. It is societies constraints (memes) that attempt to prevent such natural behavior because maximizing only individuals with the best fitness does not necessarily maximize the total number of Replicators holding that meme. One on one relationships allow all Replicators to replicate, not just the lucky few. As already noted, memes, act to maximize the total numbers of Replicators, not individual strains of Replicators.
Yes, this author is well aware of how non Politically Correct this view is, however, it is the way that it really is.
(work in progress)
These papers may be freely copied only for non commercial use,
provided full credit is given to the author.
© Kevin Aylward 2003 - all rights reserved