Genetic similarity of breading partners has long been associated with deformity and poor mental health, from the decline of the Pharaohs to jokes about Norfolk, this appears to be a truism. In order to ensure genetic diversity humanity has had to rely on a range of surrogate markers of "difference". You look different, or more specifically you come from a different migratory tribe or ever since civilizations have settled in particular location, you come from a different land. Often this desire for cultural distinctiveness, that I suggest is primarily to nurture the health of our species globally, has been misinterpreted as "apartheid" and we end up with the likes of Nick Griffin both socially and genetically. I believe the "Nick Griffin" effect is more to do with competition over resources. See previous blog about the tragedy of the commons and enlightened self interest. This type of person sees the immediate self interest of cultural identity, usually based around resources such as jobs, land, power, valuables or food — as the primary motivator for remaining culturally distinct. They do not see that identifying who you are is a way of advertising yourself to somone who is genetically different. Trade and social interaction with the tribe next door is apparently important for short term tactical reasons such as politics or resources, but has been vital for the diversity needed for the evolution of humanity. Professor Winston has produced some interesting documentaries looking at the reasons why humans subconsciously select a mate.
Living, as we do now, in the global village — where travel is cheap (albeit environmentally expensive), telecommunications are accessible and new media social interconnectedness is vast and growing, we have no need (or derive no competitive edge) to align ourselves to a tribe or locate ourselves permanently in a specific region. Will this create homogeneity of heterogeneity? So if competitive advantage is not a sufficient draw to keep us in culturally and genetically distinct groups, and technology is allowing as to interact socially over vast distances will we become more similar or more different? I can see a utopian humanity where we are one pan global race, the human race, with significant genetic diversity distributed evenly, not clustered, across the population. If this is our destiny, if cultural diversity will diminish and genetic diversity will become homogeneous what of society? Will politics and social governance structures become more global? I'll think I'll save that for the next post.
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