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zslastman comments on Tsuyoku vs. the Egalitarian Instinct - Less Wrong

26 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 28 March 2007 05:49PM

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Comment author: zslastman 24 March 2013 10:58:33AM 2 points [-]

Hunter-gatherer tribes are usually highly egalitarian (at least if you're male)—the all-powerful tribal chieftain is found mostly in agricultural societies, rarely in the ancestral environment. Among most hunter-gatherer tribes, a hunter who brings in a spectacular kill will carefully downplay the accomplishment to avoid envy.

This seems like a really, really important question of fact, because it bears on to what extent we can construct societies where everyone is happy. I lean towards the idea that we're wired for non egalitarianism, that we need other people below us to be happy. Not sure though. Any citations?

Comment author: apostb1 02 June 2013 10:46:33PM *  0 points [-]

If "pursuing happiness" is an incentive for modern societies, pursuing something else - improving oneself I suppose - would become an incentive when most of population have achieved "happiness" (and misery should present itself to the world with a brave new meaning?). To my perception, that is, tsuyoku implies "always pursuing" while happiness achievement implies an end of the line.

...we need other people below us to be happy

Interesting connotation. "Below us" implies we' re already there, and by some sense of altruism we desire unhappy people to be happy? Or is it a different classification?