Survival of the Fittest - reiterated
All we say and do, all we aspire to and wish for, all we fear, is as interwoven in our mind as the many threads of a Celtic Endless Knot.
‘Survival of the fittest’ is the phrase Herbert Spencer coined 150 years ago to explain the mechanism of natural selection on the back of Darwin’s evolutionary theory which also brought to the west his 19th century understanding of emotions.
Perhaps oddly, Spencer’s phrase has become reiterated as ‘survival of the strongest.'
All knotted up, this paraphrase got its hold on the way the western world would go about most aspects of business, politics, love, relationships, and the separation of body, mind and spirit for the next century and a half.
No doubt Darwin, the man of science that he was expected, as par-for-the-course, that his proposition and all its aspects would eventually become superseded by new ones as fresh evidence emerged regarding early man and, most importantly for us, here and now, the fathomless secrets of the human brain and homo sapiens DNA.
And, thus, it came to pass, thanks to progressively evolving forensic archaeology, cognitive science and associated fields. However, these findings, like kites floundering in the breeze, were never given enough air to rise high enough to be considered pivotal to life and business as has been conducted, if only over the past 60 years.
Most were slotted into the niche where all that is ‘quirky and fascinating to some’ finds its place alongside Nessie, the Lochness Monster, and Alien theories. Others have been pigeonholed and labelled Alternative Healing - several of them to this day.
It would seem that for several decades, the men with the finger on the switch; historians, forensic archaeologists - economists even - and the usual assortment of academics have played a sort of ‘mum’s the word’ pantomime with the population of their days.
Presumably, that was done with the tacit understanding of Western heads of states.
Be that as it may, from within their specific areas of expertise and spheres of influence, the would-be New World shapers stalled when it came to overhauling the outdated principles of business, trade agreements, relationships, peace, politics and protectionism right there and then.
Surely, it could only have been in the best interest of each successive generation, and that of each country’s economy to engineer a progressive modernization of ethical thinking. It would probably have led to reduced cognitive distortion while improving the odds of mutually satisfying problem-solving across the board and divides.
We can only imagine how different our current culture might have been if some seven or even five generations ago, slowly, incrementally, the world-shapers had moved, first themselves, then ‘the masses,' towards a body, mind and spirit approach to all matters of life and death.
Most likely, by now, we would be enabled to behave more fairly towards and within ourselves and to be more inclusive of others regardless of age, gender, height, size, the color of skin, faith and financial status.
New models to enhance productivity in the industries; cooperation between political factions for the greater good of all; as well as genuine personal relationships through the process of improved emotional coherence and resilience would probably have helped a few million of people 'tick' more efficiently in each country.
Many default cultural reflexes would have been optimised in the process.
And, by now, our way of doing life and ‘business as usual’ would most probably look, sound and feel quite differently than it currently does.
We might be going about our days with fewer lifestyle addictions, a lessened fear of change, a heightened understanding of commitment, a lessened need for gargantuan justice, healthcare and defence budgets.
We might enjoy a greater understanding of the Universal Consciousness.
Instinct Versus Entertainment
The saying, May the best man win is the genteel way of saying, May the most cunning, die-hard, resilient, villainous [man or woman] win.
All as one, in lock step, boys, girls, men, and women, we seem unaware that, in the wild, survival is more likely through mutual aid and social cooperation.
It is said that when we, humans, behave badly or violently, we comport ourselves like animals, but is this correct?
Beyond cyclical behaviour linked to reproduction and survival during which an animal might indulge in frenetic mating during a predetermined period and, at other times, kill young offspring, a healthy animal will not aggress another.
Because of our relative moral sensitivity, many of us consider such behaviour objectionable when performed by humans.
The thing is that even those of us who do not watch pornographic or paedophile material still end up, intentionally or not, viewing similar and worse graphic actions on our movie/TV/computer screens. Many plots of fiction contain similar elements of sexual urges and murder.
When this happens, the human behaviour that mimics that of animals in the wild is called adult entertainment.
Fittest = Emotionally Resilient
Animals do not know about resentment, grudges, and envy.
The animal’s instinct does not tell it to arrange the members of its pack around a water hole to prevent every other animal from coming near it.
The animal's patterned behavior does not push it to hoard carcasses. It does not prompt it to intimidate a would-be opponent in the event of an encounter that might happen further down the track.
When survival is at stake, instinctively the animal moves into cooperative hunting. It will reap benefits by assisting others with whom it shares a common DNA. It will not ambush and gore another to take over its den or to subjugate its clan.
Only in crazy sci-fi plots do groups of animals stalk and maul those of another ‘tribe.'
Birds do not infest each other’s nest with killer worms. Even tiny bees cooperate with flowers for the greater good of all.
As individuals and as nations, we have accepted the false fact that our personal and collective survival depends on our individuality, our degree of ‘strong-ness’ and our personal relevance as seen through the eyes of the observer.
Yet, generally speaking, we seesaw between the appropriately named myside bias and the groupthink phenomenon.
Whether the selection of information we choose confirms our preexisting beliefs or whether our desire for harmony - acceptance by any other name - leads to an accepted type of conformity within our group or circle of influence, either way, we end up embroiled in irrational decision-making outcomes.
Obviously, this anachronistic way of making our mark is antiquated but overhauling the system through the series of stepped updates necessary to set up a different mindset across the board has been deemed too onerous, too burdensome and too demanding by those in the know.
We have allowed them to make us their ‘captive’ audience.
Like the cave-dwellers in Plato’s allegory, chained to the past, we react to shadows projected on the wall instead of responding to the reality outside our caves.
Like them, it seems we know no other way.
© 2017 Carole Claude Saint-Clair