pay more attention to ideologies.
bruce charlton suggests that i underestimate the power of ideology, and he’s probably right. i’m not a very ideological creature myself, so i think overlook what different ideologies mean to different people and the role it plays in their lives.
i mean, i know they’re there — ideologies, that is. most of the time, tho, i just think of them as neat, abstract ideas to discuss after dinner — like you might discuss an interesting chess opening, for instance.
the thing is, it’s hard to put yourself in other people’s shoes sometimes. i’ve operated most of my life without thinking much at all about any religious belief or political ideology. i forget that other people have a different experience in life.
anyway, i should pay more attention to them because i’ve even written (or commented) here on the ol’ blog about two different ideologies that have either profoundly affected the genetic relatedness in a population, or affected a population’s historical trajectory — and in both cases ideology affected the success of the populations — so obviously ideologies are important!
the first is what we’ve been discussing recently: that the spread of christianity in europe directly altered the degree of genetic relatedness within european populations when the roman catholic church (as well as the political powers of the day) imposed mating restrictions on the population.
HUGE effects on history by ideologies! not to be ignored. definitely not.
it’s interesting to compare the outcomes of the effects of these two ideologies on the populations in question. in the arab world, islam managed to unite the otherwise warring tribes (of course, the promise of a share in war booty also helped), but did not do away with the tribal system which still exists today and remains a cause for problems in the same old ways. in europe, christianity managed to (i think) do away with tribes (or, at least, it had a hand in it) which enabled broader cooperation amongst the peoples of europe. this worked pretty good (overlooking a couple of world wars here and there) for quite some time.
an interesting point to note: both ideologies replaced polytheistic religious systems with monotheism, but only one of them actually did away with tribes.
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