Biology, Society and Self

August 15, 2009 | 1 Comment

Category: Unconscious

As society transforms, nations integrate and hierarchy becomes less efficient than barrierless transparency, our idea of how evolution operates will evolve.  Darwin’s theory of natural selection will feel strangely lacking as an explanatory paradigm.  Complementing theories will take center stage.  The process has begun with the emergence of evolutionary developmental biology.  It includes an understanding that genetics and the environment work together to impact how individuals develop.  It also has an understanding that genes are programmed to interpret and integrate environmental cues when guiding growth.

We will become savvy to the understanding that how humans treat humans within society determines how we believe that evolution operates.  Capitalism enhanced by horizontal communications technology will encourage evolutionary biological pluralism.

Still, there is something awry, something missing.  There is little talk of single theories that integrate biology and society within a single evolutionary paradigm.  How would you even begin to do so?

In these strange times that we live in, the political Left, those heralds of societal horizontal innovation, has Darwin’s theory of natural selection as the default metaphor for how humans treat humans as its most basic metaphor.  Only the far Left, the anarchists, have some intuition for evolutionary alternatives when they quote the work of the anarchist prince, Peter Kropotkin.  Kropotkin was a very early proponent of cooperation in biological systems as a prime influence on evolution.  He was 17 when On the Origin of Species was published.  He grew up to become a respected theorist and activist, a precursor to the emerging synthesis that sees society and biology as the same–both driven by cooperation and interdependence.

Integrating biology and society is more than the theory of natural selection that describes how those that survive to procreate pass on features that then mold a species.  Integrating biology and society is more than a theory of cooperation that describes how the best cooperators engender communities that make it safe to proliferate.  Both interpretations are generalizations, providing limited ability to identify the dynamics, the specifics, the prose and poetry of the process.

In addition to understanding how society influences our interpretation of biology, we require enough insight on how we actually evolved to be able to form a hypothesis on how biology and society are the same.  How do we see past our societal blinders to be able to view and then grasp useful biological evolutionary principles?

Society is made up of individuals.  We maintain self identities and identities associated with larger and larger groups.  A place to begin understanding biology is by paying close attention to a place characterized by an attention to identity.  In other words, as conscious, aware entities, it is useful if we become familiar with ourselves outside our history, our memories or our associations.

Who and what are we as individuals in society?  If you strip society from the individual, what is left?

Transcending everything we associate ourselves with, there is that which is aware.  Awareness is the integral foundation of both biology and society.  Awareness of awareness provides the leverage to experience things as they are, not as they are interpreted to be.

Less interpretation, more process.  Less content, more pattern.

In addition to a recognition that society influences interpretation of biology, there is the understanding that the two are the same.  To uncover the particulars of that insight, it is useful if we dissociate from our identification with society, associating with society’s most basic building block, awareness.

Embracing what it truly means to be human makes it possible for us to understand how we came to be.


This entry was posted on Saturday, August 15th, 2009 at 9:45 am and is filed under Unconscious. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
1 Comment so far

  1. Balakrishna on December 6, 2012 5:37 am

    If you spray a plague of lostcus, comprising millions of them, with insecticide, most of them will die. Some of them won’t lets say 1%. Of that 1% some didn’t die because they may not have had exposure to the insecticide. They will most likely die with the next spraying. Some of that 1%, however, will happen to have an inate resistance to the insecticide, and they will pass it onto some of their offspring. So next year, the farmer will spray, and perhaps 10% of the lostcus will survive, so the following year the farmer increases the strength of the insecticide, and only 1% survive, and so on, over many years, gradually the resistance grows, to a level that the insecticide needs to be at a level where it is toxic not only to lostcus but to humans, and so has become useless.As for bacteria, much antibiotic resistance is plasmid mediated. The plasmid is a small ring of genetic material within many bacteria, it is used to transfer genetic material between bacteria, not just of the same species, but different species of bacteria. The resistance mechanism to antibiotics is similar to the locust example, but it can be transferred to other bacterial species as well, via the plasmid.The good news with antibiotic resistance is that it requires energy to maintain genetic code within the plasmid. If we stop using a particular antibiotic, then having that genetic code within the plasmid will not be an advantage to survival, in fact it may be a hindrance. Eventually it will be lost, and the antibiotic will become potent again. This is of course a simplistic example, but the basics are there.

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