Mark Pagel

(Mark David Pagel)

Quotes
Quote Topics Cited
Culture has worked by coming to exercise a form of mind control over us. We willingly accept and even embrace this mind control, and probably without even knowing it.
Each of you possesses the most powerful, dangerous and subversive trait that natural selection has ever devised. It's a piece of neural audio technology for rewiring other people's minds. I'm talking about your language. Science, Mathematics, Engineering & Technology
Having culture means we are the only animal that acquires the rules of its daily living from the accumulated knowledge of our ancestors, rather than from the genes they pass to us. Education, Learning, Knowledge & Training
Human cultural diversity is vast; the range of cultural practices, beliefs, and languages that we speak is vast.
Humans like to think of themselves as unusual. We've got big brains that make it possible for us to think, and we think that we have free will and that our behavior can't be described by some mechanistic set of theorems or ideas. But even in terms of much of our behavior, we really aren't very different from other animals.
I think the driving force for cultural evolution is this desire for groups to be splitting off and separating and forming subgroups insofar as the environment will allow it. We see great cultural diversity and large numbers of cultures per unit area in regions of the world in which the environment is really rich.
It might be inevitable that we have to confront the idea that our destiny is to be one world with one language.
Natural selection has duped us with an emotion that encourages group thinking. It is an emotion that makes us act as if for the good of the group; an emotion that brings pleasure, pride, or even thrills from coordinated group activity.
Nothing in our evolutionary history specifically prepared us to live in large societies. Almost everything about the way culture works does. History
We owe our big brains less to inventiveness than to conflicts of interest among social minds engaged in an arms race to be the best at manipulating others.
What drives the separation of groups of people into subgroups is the desire to control resources. We begin with a single culture, and over time the number of individuals within that culture expands. Time
You and I probably wouldn't be here if our ancestors hadn't been greedy savages.