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Posts Tagged ‘Survival’

BIOLOGY AND HISTORY
So the first biological lesson of history is that life is competition. competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life — peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouths outrun the food.  Animals eat one another without qualm; civilize men consume one another by due process of law.
War is a nation’s way of eating.  It promotes co-operation because it is the ultimate form of competition.  Until our states become members of a large and effectively protective group they will continue to act like individuals and families in the hunting stage.
The second biological lesson of history is that life is selection.  In the competition for food or mates or power some organisms succeed and some fail.  In the struggle for existence some individuals are better equipped than others to meet the tests of survival.
Nature loves difference as the necessary material of selection and evolution; identical twins differ in a hundred ways, and no two peas are alike.
Inequality is not only natural and inborn, it grows with the complexity of civilization.  Hereditary inequalities breed social and artificial inequalities; every invention or discovery is made or seized by the exceptional individual, and makes the strong stronger, the weak relatively weaker, than before.  Economic development specializes functions, differentiates abilities, and makes me unequally valuable to their group.  If we knew our fellow men thoroughly we could select thirty percent of them whose combined ability would equal that of all the rest.  Life and history do precisely that, wit a sublime injustice reminiscent of Calvin’s God.
Nature smiles at the union of freedom and equality in our utopias.  For freedom and equality are sworn and everlasting enemies, and when one prevails the other dies.  Leave men free and their natural inequalities will multiply almost geometrically…
Even when repressed, inequality grows; only the man who is below the average in economic ability desires equality; those who are conscious of superior ability desire freedom; and in the end superior ability has its way.  Utopias of equality are biologically doomed, and the best that the amiable philosopher can hope for is an approximate equality of legal justice and educational opportunity.  A society in which all potential abilities are allowed to develop and function will have a survival advantage in the competition of groups.  This competition becomes more severe as the destruction of distance intensifies the confrontation of states.
The third biological lesson of history is that life must breed.  Nature has no use for organisms, variations, or groups that cannot reproduce abundantly.  She has a passion for quantity as prerequisite to the selection of quality; she likes large litters, and relishes the struggle that picks the surviving few; doubtless she looks on approvingly at the upstream race of a thousand sperms to fertilize one ovum.  She is more interested in the species than in the individual, and makes little difference between civilization and barbarism.  She does not care that a high birth rate has usually accompanied a culturally low civilization, and a low birth rate a civilization culturally high; and she (here meaning Nature as the process of birth, variation, competition, selection, and survival) sees to it that a nation with a low birth rate shall be periodically chastened by some more virile and fertile group.
If the human brood is too numerous for the food supply, Nature has three agents for restoring the balance: famine, pestilence, and war.
But much of what we call intelligence is the result of individual education, opportunity, and experience; and there is no evidence that such intellectual acquirements are transmitted in the genes.  Even the children of Ph.D.s must be educated and go through their adolescent measles of errors, dogmas, and isms; nor can we say how much potential ability and genius lurk in the chromosomes of the harassed and handicapped poor.  Biologically, physical vitality may be, at birth, of greater value than intellectual pedigree; Nietzsche thought that the best blood in Germany was in peasant veins; philosophers are not the fittest material from which to breed the race.
In the United States the lower birth rate of the Anglo-Saxons has lessened their economic and political power; and the higher birth rate of Roman Catholic families suggests that by the year 2000 the Roman Catholic Church will be the dominant force in national as well as in municipal or state governments.
    —     Will and Ariel Durant
From their book: “The Lessons Of History, Chap.III
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On This Day In:
2020 And #45 Is Flat On His Face
2019 I’m Still Hungry
2018 What Matters
2017 By Far
2016 Until…
2015 Or Infinitesimal
2014 I’ve Looked At Clouds
2013 Undiscovered Ocean
2012 Feeling Old? (Part 2)
2011 What About Freedom?

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Hate, among all our base instincts, is the most distinctly human.  In animals, violence and venom are tools of survival; in humans, of supremacy.  Small, scared people hate, self-hating people hate, bullied and betrayed people hate, as though hate will make them large and safe and strong.
     —    Nancy Gibbs
From her article in Time Magazine (dtd: 12 November 2018):  “The Only Way Forward
The online version of this article is titled:  “The Only Way to Fight Hate
The article can be found online at: http://time.com/magazine/us/5441415/november-12th-2018-vol-192-no-20-u-s/
I choose to love people, not to judge them.  I want to experience them as they are, not as I would want them to be.  I want to grow with them, allowing each new moment to tell its own story, rather than perceive it as a product of our past.  I want us to search together for fresh alternatives to our incompleteness, to our negativity, to our deception, to our fear and to our despair.  I don’t want us to spend our lives thinking about life and change and celebration.  Rather, I want us to spend our lives celebrating and living and changing.  And I never want to forget what the wonderful author William Saroyan reminded me of many years ago:  People is all everything is – all it has ever been, and all it can ever be.  People.  You and me.  Together in love.
    —    Leo Buscaglia’s Credo for Relationships
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On This Day In:
2018 Persistence
2017 Are You A Loser?
2016 Constitution And Conscience
2015 Separate, Fearful And Imprisoned
2014 Something Worth Making
2013 Absolutely
2012 Can Do
2011 Wise Criticism

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We are the local embodiment of a Cosmos grown to self-awareness.  We have begun to contemplate our origins: starstuff pondering the stars; organized assemblages of ten billion billion billion atoms considering the evolution of atoms; tracing the long journey by which, here at least, consciousness arose.  Our loyalties are to the species and the planet.  We speak for Earth.  Our obligation to survive is owed not just to ourselves but also to that Cosmos, ancient and vast, from which we spring.
    ―    Carl Sagan
From his TV Show: “Cosmos
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On This Day In:
2013 Inward Urgency
2012 Delayed Reviews
Fulfilling My Duty
2011 Interference

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The survival value of human intelligence has never been satisfactorily demonstrated.
    —    Michael Crichton
From his book:  “The Andromeda Strain
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