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Thursday, April 12, 2012

THE ASCENT OF MAN: BEYOND DARWIN






Sociobiologist E. O. Wilson recently published The Social Conquest of Earth, which makes a strong case for a biological basis for Man’s tendency to associate in tribes of all sorts, from nations to political parties and even fan clubs of sports teams. He argues that it is this tendency that has caused men to create a divided world society and the conditions which have given us the opportunity for the first time in history for Mankind to control its own destiny. This can lead to Paradise on Earth or a living Hell. Our fate will depend on our individual and collective choices.

We find ourselves at this time in history where powerful and wealthy individuals hold the fate of the world in their hands. If the Peoples of the Earth can find a way to see past their differences and come together in the common interest of liberty and justice for all, we can stop the threat of self-extinction. If we continue to live in a world where the collective consciousness is dominated by tribal mentality, we will continue to fight among ourselves while allowing powerful corporate interests to rob our children of their birthright by virtue of their citizenship of the global community.


Human civilization as it currently exists developed from a struggle between tribes composed of nations and alliances of nations. These alliances have shifted continuously throughout history as those who control the most powerful governments of the world perceived that betraying former allies was the easiest way to expand and defend the Empires over which they ruled. Now that the entire world is occupied, those currently in power are playing a game of Risk acted out on a playing board that is the Earth itself. This is the predictable ending for the global game of Monopoly that they have been playing since the first tribes were formed.


The only way to ensure that future generations will inherit a world fit in which to raise children is to ensure the death of tribalism and the rapid evolution of human consciousness in which it is implicitly recognized by a critical mass of people that our collective survival depends on recognizing our interdependence and acting accordingly. This in turn means that we must build upon the worldwide rebellion that is growing and build a united international front against fascism and war.


Evolution depends on biological diversity to respond to changing environmental pressures by selecting those biological traits that improve the odds of survival of the species, which is often at odds with the survival of the individual, Wilson argues. The genes that determine these traits come in different forms and are unevenly distributed among various racial and cultural groups. The only way to maximize the survival of the human species in the self-inflicted Holocaust to come is to ensure the survival of each of these groups. Similarly, the massive die-off of entire species threatens human survival, as the natural world on which humans depend is losing its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances.


Historically, evolution has been a ruthless process of the elimination of individuals from a population who lack the genetic survival traits necessary to propagate a species under changing environmental conditions. As Man evolved and eliminated various dangers to the survival of individuals, selective pressure largely ceased to affect human evolution. The fate of individuals came to be determined not merely by impersonal forces of nature but by the decisions of psychopaths who impersonally made decisions about the fate of entire nations in the unceasing pursuit of wealth and power. The only way to respond to this new and global environmental threat is to evolve our thinking rapidly enough to act to save ourselves.


The story of evolution has never been one of a linear progression. It is full of examples of rapid die off of species and speciation of groups under extreme changes of environmental conditions such as the end of the dinosaurs and the Cambrian explosion that produced many of the species ancestral to modern ones. This was dubbed punctuated evolution by anthropologist Stephen J Gould. The ability of life on Earth to respond successfully has depended on biological diversity that has existed for most of the history of life on Earth. In today’s era of rapid environmental change, human civilization must utilize its diversity to adapt and survive.

There is reason to believe that Mankind may yet save itself from the oblivion to which it has sent thousands of species through its short-sighted and selfish actions. Signs everywhere suggest that humanity is waking up to its collective power and responsibility to care for the least among it and for the planet upon which the survival of all depends. From Occupy to the worldwide ecumenical movement, from the new energy of the once-torpid labor movement to the rise of the Tea Party in the United States, people are rising up and demanding liberty and justice for all. If they can find the means to put their tribal differences aside, the worldwide Revolution can free Mankind from the twin threats of fascism and war forever. This is the final stage of human evolution.



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