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Olduvai III: Catacylsm
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Are We Communitarian By Nature, or Merely Tribal?

Are We Communitarian By Nature, or Merely Tribal?

image above from the wild human initiative

This month, Aurélien has wandered a bit afield and speculated on the fundamental nature of the human animal. I think most of us can agree that the cult of rugged individualism that has prevailed in the west over the past century, encouraging the unrestricted pursuit of selfish goals and zero-sum-game self-interest as virtuous, is in no one’s best interest, except perhaps the hawkers of weapons, fashions, and identity politics.

We could never have survived this far as a species if we were, by nature, preoccupied with our personal welfare to the exclusion of that of other humans. We lack the speed, the teeth and claws, and other attributes needed to thrive as solitary creatures.

So we have, of necessity, evolved to live in groups. The question is whether this is an ideal way of living for humans (one that will make us happier than any other possible way of living), or whether it’s an unhappy compromise. Nature is replete with examples of species that seem perfectly happy to live in large groups, where the individual is, when necessary, willing to sacrifice its life for the collective good. And there are many examples of other creatures where there seems a permanent tension between its members, as if they would actually prefer to live alone but know they can’t survive that way. And there are examples of yet other creatures that coexist only with their mates and unfledged offspring, and only then as long as they must to ensure the survival of the species.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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