Feb 092016

tumblr_o21tjdhKDn1uuik1zo1_1280Today there is a parade in my city (Denver) to celebrate a Super Bowl victory. I caught a few glimpses of the prep on the TV, and it strikes me how similar this sort of behavior is to the Ancient Roman practice of the Triumph. It made me very happy. Because a Triumph necessitated the previous murder of tons of people. We’ve managed to replace it with a civilized competition with structure and rules instead of carnage and destruction. This is a huge step forward.

I consider this a form of civilizational bio-hacking. There is an innate violence in our species. We long to destroy our enemies and see them driven before us (and hear the lamentation of their women, etc). It’s a wonderful feeling to revel in the shared rushed of crushing a foe and celebrating your mastery over them. In the absence of the tools needed to remove this sickness from our psyches, we found a way to get that rush while removing the harm.

It’s similar to the way that the introduction of easily-available pornography reduces sexual violence. Or how violent video games allow people to indulge their aggressive tendencies without actually harming people (at least for a little while).

So next time someone disparages the stupidness of sports, remind them that they fulfill a biological need with a clever hack that makes all of our lives comparatively better.

  3 Responses to “Civilizational Hacks”

  1. Sports may fill a biological need. Ok. I still cannot help but feel we should be better than this already though.

    • I don’t think that’ll fully happen until we get complete read/write access to our biology. At that point though – man, we’re gonna have to make some big decisions as a species.

      Or, probably not. I assume most people will just stay the way they are, and only shift very gradually over a long period of time. It’ll be a hell of a ride for the radical early-adopters tho! :)

      • The radical early adopters will self-modify into what they think is best, but they will probably all disagree and many will probably be wrong about what they would have actually wanted.

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