On the tenuous nature of rational alliances

The difference between an ally and an enemy is a matter of expediency and timing. The rational expectation is whichever ally betrays the other first wins the long game, provided the outcome of the short game isn’t too crippling. So even in the cooperate-cooperate scenario, the allies will achieve their goal and then it’s a race to stab each other in the back. The idea of people with irreconcileable differences working together temporarily for common interest is based on a surprisingly large number of tenuous dependencies. For starters: self-control, control over one’s followers, future orientation, high IQ, a pragmatism which outweighs idealism, trustworthiness, courage, conscientiousness, etc. These are required for the cooperate-cooperate scenario to even be on the table in the first place, much less chosen.

The sheer cognitive load of such a batshit world is why “civility” is valuable in the first place and reflects huge social capital. Or, as Schneier puts it,

Just today, a stranger came to my door claiming he was here to unclog a bathroom drain. I let him into my house without verifying his identity, and not only did he repair the drain, he also took off his shoes so he wouldn’t track mud on my floors. When he was done, I gave him a piece of paper that asked my bank to give him some money. He accepted it without a second glance. At no point did he attempt to take my possessions, and at no point did I attempt the same of him. In fact, neither of us worried that the other would. My wife was also home, but it never occurred to me that he was a sexual rival and I should therefore kill him.

-Bruce Schneier
Liars and Outliers

Even in the case of civility, the expectation for rational actors is that once the minimum expected common interest has been accomplished, individual competition resumes. This mutual understanding is the basis for homo sapiens’ eternal cold war of all against all, and this is why they never take the betrayals of their friends and family personally. They believe life is just a game where the goal is to take as much advantage as you can, so when your friend turns out to be a two-faced serpent you just smile and move on because you would have done the same in his position, and you both know it. In fact, it shows strength to compliment him for scoring a point on you by sleeping with your whore girlfriend and wish the two snakes a good life together, as it’s certainly nothing personal. Disappointment betrays idealistic expectations, betrays naivete, betrays weakness.

I expect this devotion to individualist, multi-level intragroup competition is why cro magnon puberty is marked by intensive socialization much more than the sorts of hunter/gatherer/herder/farmer hobbies you’d expect. The Holocene did not select for conquerors or builders or bourgeoisie or slaves, but rather the most successful socialites.

About Aeoli Pera

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5 Responses to On the tenuous nature of rational alliances

  1. Mycroft Jones says:

    Rational alliances are tenuous. But irrational ones can last thousands of years. Religion isn’t rational (which isn’t to say it isn’t True), because it can’t be proven through pure reason. An atheist world gets rid of the irrational, and the fabric of reality becomes thin, relationships become transactional, conditional, and tenuous.

  2. bicebicebice says:

    “Disappointment betrays idealistic expectations, betrays naivete, betrays weakness.” this is why rightoids never win at anything because they cling to notions of uber-ideals while they are just sapes like the rest of the sapes and leftoid sapes are not ashamed to admit to being animals, which then ironically justifies all the shit flung on cucked-rightoids because they are rabbits acting like wolves, apart from never standing their ground or “shunning” someone caught in a minor mishap. They are brought back to the fold very easily being of the fold from the beginning.

    We got election here on sunday so im pretty busy I while read all your posts later. I skimmed through and this one stuck out because I was thinking about the very same thang.

    Sapes win if they act like sapes, if they don’t act like sapes they lose. Rightoids are just “optic-cucks” with no substance, no real sincerity when it comes to the big nice words they like to talk about, and their only redeeming quality (?!?) is the destire to be LEGALLY replaced by foreign men (MAGA). One dead daughter = one free taco.Remember the human sacrifices in the south americas was done willingly, the highest honor in their society.

    Sapes not even once.

  3. Tom Kratman says:

    Mycroft has the right of it. Rational people, or people who, at least, think they’re rational, tend to ascribe to the world and its players a rationality that doesn’t exist. This is, despite their pretensions, irrational. Conversely, to look at the world as fundamentally irrational, and mankind as instinctive and emotional, and to make one’s predictions from that, is supremely rational.

    In simpler terms, emotion rules, and it rules alliances, too.

  4. Pingback: On the insufficiency of scarcity to produce counter-elites | Aeoli Pera

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