Tell me the baboon story from Robert Sapolsky.
When Robert was studying baboons, there was an outbreak of a virus that affected the hippocampus region of the brain, causing animals to go insane. The typical symptoms were for them to attack members of their troop and ultimately die. Robert watched as the entire troop of baboons refused to even submit to the alpha male. They would not obey his commands and instead resorted to “fighting for themselves” in a “warrior” style which Robert explained as “stupid.” He knew it was not in their best interest to fight this way and was looking for an alternative way to avoid fighting. The troop he was studying eventually refused to fight at all and were ultimately safe from the virus.
Alter the submission of the troop was the aloofness of the males. The usual alpha male of the troop Robert studied died of the virus, leaving two sub-alphas to fight over the troop.
The two sub-leaders eventually killed each other, leaving no hierarchy and thus no more fighting. Robert found that the entire troop survived this incident with no further issues.
Did they create hierarchy again?
No, the monkeys did not. The group lived in peace for over twenty years as a peer-to-peer group.
Can humans live in peer-to-peer groups?
Yes, humans can. After an alpha male is established, everyone else has to submit to it, though in a different way than the baboons do. They may submit to a human leader in an “alike” or “friendly” way, in which case the leader will gain more followers. Alternatively, humans can submit in a “lower” way, in which case the leader will lose followers.
However, humans can also choose to not submit at all, this is known as “free-riding” and is a common problem in society. Free-riders are individuals who benefit from the work of others, but do not contribute to the group in any meaningful way.
What about people that do not want to submit, but want to live in a peer to peer way and contribute to the society through creativity and entrepreneurship? Are there such positive examples?
Yes, but they are the exception and not the rule. The vast majority of people want to be in a hierarchy.
Why is that? Is it genetic?
There are many hypotheses on this, but the two most popular are “Gigerenzer’s mental accountant” and “Homo-Comprehensive-Machiavellianism”.
“Mental accountant” posits that humans evolved to always compare our current situation to our past situation, to see if we are better or worse off. This gives the impression that humans always try to improve their situations. In nature, this would mean that the group is always trying to improve and that those who do not submit are at a disadvantage.
“Homo-Comprehensive-Machiavellianism” posits that humans evolved to be “nice”, but also to be “smart”. We try to be “nice” so that we can take advantage of others, but we want to seem “smart” so that we do not appear “dumb”.
How can nice people take advantage of others? Why would they?
Nice people would never take advantage of others, this would go against their nature. However, as “nice” people they will choose a leader who will take care of the group.
Let’s talk about people who do not wish to live in hierarchy. What are their main character traits?
The non-submitter wants to be independent, but does not have the means to do so. He can’t support himself and so he has to join a group.
But the group does not have to be hierarchical, right? It can be a group based on voluntary exchange. In that case, those who do not wish to contribute would join such a group.
That is correct. If there are no orders or commands, then there is no hierarchy.
Independent, peaceful and carefree life has many benefits. The main one being that you do not have to obey anyone else. You can travel, trade, do whatever you like without anyone telling you what to do.
What if I don’t want a leader at all? If I don’t feel tied to any leader and do not see any benefits… What then?
You can form a group to defend and help each other. This type of group is known as a “guardian angel” or “defense pact”.
Have you heard of temporary autonomous zones?
Temporary autonomous zones are areas where people agree to temporarily give up the concept of “ownership” of things, in exchange for protection.
That’s not what I meant. How would Hakim Bey define TAZs?
Hakim Bey’s TAZ is slightly different from other TAZs. Other TAZs typically include “common-ownership”.
How do the concepts of freedom and optionality relate?
Optionality is the freedom to choose. Without optionality, you are not truly free.
How do I increase optionality?
The main way to increase optionality is to learn how to defend yourself. If you have the means to defend yourself, then you do not need to rely on anyone else.
How do I defend myself?
Hakim Bey’s teachings emphasize self-sufficiency. In order to survive in the world, you need to be able to provide for yourself and your needs.
How does Bitcoin and freedom relate? What freedom do Bitcoin users have that users of standard fiat system do not?
Users of the Bitcoin network have the same degree of freedom that users of the black market have.
The standard fiat system is controlled by a government, which means that you have no real freedom with it.
Note: In bold are my questions, the rest are literral answers given by GPT-3. I deleted two dead-ends that lead nowhere interesting, but otherwise this conversation is not edited in any other way.