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06 March 2004 @ 07:27 am
For the Daniel Quinn readers  
A thought occurred to me yesterday that kinda creeped me out in how much sense it made.

Remember in My Ishmael, when Ishmael explains the concept of the Erratic Retaliator strategy?

For those who haven't read it, go do so. Meanwhile here is a brief and inadequate explanation.

This is a strategy that works for tribal cultures living in an area with other tribal cultures. It wasn't developed in meetings or by vote, it developed the way most things that don't involve our culture develop - through evolution. The strategies that work survive, the strategies that don't work disappear. On a scale of millions of years, that's how things go.

So the erratic retaliator strategy goes something like this. If you get attacked, you attack back. If you haven't been attacked, go into a random mode where you might attack to let them know you're still strong and able to repel them if they attack you, or you might stay at peace. It's a low level of constant warfare, where there may be a battle tomorrow or there may not be a battle for five years. But it works. Summed up more efficiently:
Give as good as you get, but don't be too predictable.

So the thought that occurred to me was this. What consequences occur when you take the Erratic Retaliator strategy and push it to a global scale? Meaning, you're a tribe in today's Earth, where your "neighboring tribes" can be anywhere in the world. How do you apply the model of Erratic Retaliator?

The answer that speedball gave when I asked him was a good one. He said you go to war with Iraq. It may be the wrong target, but that's still essentially what's happening. Although I'm not sure we fall into the "Erratic" part of the program - mostly we're just Retaliators.

But I went a step further back. If you're a tribe in today's Earth and you want to make sure you Give As Good as You Get, but not be too predictable (in order to ensure that all your neighbors know you're not to be trifled with)..........you throw a couple of airplanes into some highly recognizable buildings.

Took me two and a half years to get that thought, but it really does apply. Ick.