If we introduce a third population, z (neanderthals), which both creates cultural capital and interacts with the other two populations, it’s going to get tricky very quickly. I’m going to try to make it up as I go and then correct course as necessary. Or, being 100% honest, I’ll probably forget and move on to something else.
We’ll say that, in his natural state of striving purely against a harsh environment, the neanderthal population will be described by the carrying capacity of the environment.
But neanderthals were natural artisans and tended to modify their environments, so K would not be constant. A model of K changing over time would include both solar activity and cultural capital, so that K = Temperature(t)*Culture(t). This basically assumes that every meme and more is a lever that multiplies effort, which is more or less reasonable given the definition I used on Sunday.
I’ll define cultural capital here as a culturally transmitted toolset (both memes like the Levallois technique, and mores like ritual burial of the dead) for solving common problems to better exploit the environment.
It also assumes every tool is useful, which is not always the case. Some mores are pathological and some memes are pathogens. But on the balance, we’d assume a preponderance of culture adds up to some positive number representing an index of adaptivity above the Hobbesian baseline of human existence.
I’m a hack and normally I’d estimate Temperature = constant*sin(t) and hope it works, but my intuition says that’s not a good idea once the system gets complex*, so I’ll just punt for the time being and leave the sun in a black box. We have a little more insight into culture, creativity, and transmission, which I’ll get into next time.
*Also because “The main idea behind complex systems is that the ensemble behaves in ways not predicted by the components. The interactions matter more than the nature of the units.” -Nassim Nicolas Taleb