Chapter seventeen in Global Brain
by Howard Bloom
. 1st ed. copyright 2000, John Wiley & Sons Inc.
In this chapter, Bloom goes more in depth on the subject of intergroup tournaments. Between 500 B.C. and 300 A.D. there were three simultaneous levels of intergroup tournaments in the West: "The Persians battled the Greeks for dominance over the lands looped 'round the Aegean Sea. . . . A gaggle of city-states jockeyed for position in . . . Greece. . . . Subcultures vied to shape the way men feel and think" (165). These three intergroup tournaments lead to over 50 years of war between Greece and Persia that ended in Greece's favor in 479 B.C., despite the fact that Athens was razed in the process. The Peloponnesian War between the RAM-style Athens and the ROM-style Spartans (431-404 B.C.), also gets included in the mess.
To the winners of these tournaments go all the spoils. Resource Shifters make sure that the cells of the social super-organism producing the most get all the goodies, while those who fall behind get shafted. Bloom cites examples in this phenomenon in primate and insect cultures, as well as the more modern example of the rise and fall of the Japanese economy.
"This is not just postmodern Western lunacy. In Uganda, when 'the king laughed, everyone laughed; if he sneezed, everyone sneezed. If he had a cold, everyone else said he had one. If he had his hair cut, so did they.' . . . The Kwakiutl chief Yaqatlenlis once made a boast which captured a basic truth of mass psychology: 'I am known by all the tribes over all the world . . . all the rest . . . try to imitate me' " (170).
Back to chapter 16: Pythagoras, Subcultures, and Psycho-Bio-Circuitry
On to chapter 18: Outstretch, Upgrade, and Irrationality: Science and the Warps of Mass Psychology
Up to the Index.