Sunday, June 24, 2012

"whether our 'true nature,' fate and destiny is to live in competition and domination (power) or symbiosis and mutuality (wholeness, self-regulation)."

This is another false distinction. All species survive by some COMBINATION of competition and cooperation. The details are complex and vary from place to place, even on tiny scales.

For example, of all animals, ants have the second most highly organized societies, after humans. They exhibit extraordinary degrees of specialization, cooperation, and altruism. Ants normally sacrifice themselves heroically for the welfare of the colony. Ant colonies also periodically conduct all-out wars with other colonies, regardless of whether the colonies are of the same species. These are wars of extermination which only end when one of the colonies is completely destroyed, its territory occupied and its members enslaved or cannibalized. See e.g. Edward O. Wilson for electrifying descriptions of ant life.

Biologically, evolution is the differential survival of self-replicating organisms. Attributes that contribute to survival tend to become more prevalent, while attributes that detract from it tend to die out. On Earth at least, self-replication is an elaborate chemical reaction involving DNA. The attributes themselves are not necessarily competitive or cooperative. The competition in evolution comes from the fact that the energy supply (ultimately sunlight) is limited, and therefore increase of one organism often comes at the expense of another.

Other applications of the term evolution, e.g. to the development of human social systems, or to the spread of ideas or computer viruses, are purely metaphorical, so to avoid confusion I would prefer we restrict use of the term to its biological meaning as stated above.

Your denial of non-human perspective doesn't prevent me from achieving it. In fact this perspective is the source of antihumanism. I reject the statement that "in relationship to cosmic time, nothing matters." To me, the notion that value exists only for humans is just another example of narcissistic humanism. Why should we assume that other organisms don't value their existence? Why shouldn't the universe have intrinsic value?

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