From Meditations on Moloch:
This is a rare confluence of circumstances where the we are unusually safe from multipolar traps, and as such weird things like art and science and philosophy and love can flourish.
There’s an apparent paradox in Meditations on Moloch that I haven’t been able to satisfactorily resolve in my head:
The central argument in Meditations on Moloch is something like that intense Malthusian competition drives out values. We would like to do things like make art and practice philosophy, but competition for resources will mean that those things that we value will get thrown under the bus if competition becomes too intense.
And yet… our values are the products of intense Malthusian competition. Our values were produced by evolution. If Geoffrey Miller’s The Mating Mind is to be taken seriously, things like art and philosophy have their roots in competition for mates. And if that seems like too much of a stretch, it should be easy to see that peacocks’ tails didn’t arise because they live in a Hansonian dream time.
I very much like Meditations on Moloch and I find it broadly convincing, but this paradox weakens my confidence in it somewhat.