Saturday, 9 November 2013

Compassion / Competition / Cooperation

This is a good question:

"Do we choose to treat each other and all other creatures with compassion, and approach the world as a whole with humility and reverence? Or do we treat each other as competitors to be done down, and other creatures and the fabric of the earth as resources to be turned into commodities, and assume that we really know what's what and how to do whatever it is we want to do, and take the world by the scruff of the neck and beat it into shape?" Colin Tudge A Different Way of Looking at The World, pg4 Earthlines (Issue 6)

Also in the same article, Colin explains that in Victorian times 'fittest' meant most apt, so Darwin's 'survival of the fittest' takes on a slightly different meaning. He goes on to say:

"The general idea of natural selection says nothing at all - absolutely nothing! - about the means by which some creatures become more successful than others. Sometimes to survive, we must indeed fight, quite literally. But most of the time the best survival tactic by far is to cooperate. Indeed Earthly life itself clearly arose as a cooperative. We have been given to understand of late that life is in effect just a Game played by DNA: as Richard Dawkins said in The Selfish Gene, we (and oak trees and mushrooms) are just vehicles for DNA. But DNA is a highly evolved molecule that could not have risen at all except in a living environment. That is, there was life - of a very sophisticated kind - before there was DNA." pg7

He goes onto describe DNA as The librarian, "helping metabolic cycles replicate themselves accurately" and emphasises that DNA isn't "the boss".

"Our whole bodies are, in short, are a masterclass in co-operativeness. Competition is an inescapable fact of life. But cooperativeness is its essence." pg8

What a relief to read something like this at last.

Call me crazy but it makes me feel like I can breathe again (for a moment).

Sussex Wildlife Trust's (unintentionally topical) donation box

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