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This is a sentimental and idealized version of how life on this planet operates. The earth was not "in balance" before we arrived - it was the scene of intense, slow moving (by our point of view) warfare between all species on the planet, the same as it has been since there were enough life forms present on the planet such that resources could be considered to be scarce.

That is a cynical and judgemental version of how life on this planet operates. Go tell it to the bacteria in your stomach.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 08:51:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Go tell it to the bacteria in your stomach gut.

Hey, that sounds better, too. Cooperation between species, up to the point of symbiosis, is just as much a part of evolution as is competition.

... adding that these are still morally loaded frames. The Dawkins you channel may be less anthropocentric, but he anthropomorphises with the best of them.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 09:24:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds like shades of kropotkin.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jan 2nd, 2008 at 09:51:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution
Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution is a book by Peter Kropotkin on the subject of mutual aid, written while he was living in exile in England. It was first published by William Heinemann in London in October 1902. The individual chapters had originally been published in 1890-96 as a series of essays in the British monthly literary magazine, Nineteenth Century.

Written partly in response to Social Darwinism and in particular to Thomas H. Huxley's Nineteenth Century essay, "The Struggle for Existence," Kropotkin's book drew on his experiences in scientific expeditions in Siberia to illustrate the phenomenon of cooperation. After examining the evidence of cooperation in animals, "savages," "barbarians," in medieval cities, and in modern times, he concludes that cooperation and mutual aid are as important in the evolution of the species as competition and mutual strife, if not more so.


Interesting. But now to find a pre-socratic who said it first...
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 05:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Coevolution and cooperation of all types are part of the process I described.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 02:02:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So how is 'intense, slow-moving warfare between all species on the planet' a useful frame? Are my 'selfish genes' eventually out to get those of the bacteria in my gut?
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Jan 3rd, 2008 at 05:48:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would they?  They compete their rivals, and doing so in alliance with other genes, be them on the same chromosome or another, in the same cell or another.

Of course, MillMan's way of putting it as species competing with each other is misleading and too narrow. Say, lions don't compete with gazelles.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 07:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Unfortunately, cooperation usually has an objective to compete against other cooperating units. This also applies to expressions of support and approval on ET that curiously lead to piefights.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 07:38:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
heh...!

Don't fight forces, use them R. Buckminster Fuller.
by rg (leopold dot lepster at google mail dot com) on Fri Jan 4th, 2008 at 09:24:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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