cooperation-cloud-computingFor some it may seem like a contradiction to say evolution favors nice people. Based on the principles of Darwinism only the strongest species survive; further only the strongest creatures within a subset of species survive (depending on how you interpret things). Much of this is proven through centuries of biological observation. This driving point works reasonably well with 99.999% of the animal kingdom; except for one species… Humans….

It seems once conscious thought is added to the life form equation it is a completely new world; possibly requiring a completely new science. Called “Cooperation Instinct”, biologist and mathematician, Martin Nowak is a pioneer in this type of forward thinking that tends to go against the grain of thought for evolutionary biologists.  As a practicing Catholic he has driven a wedge into the scientific community. Nowak contends that without cooperation there is no complexity. Nowak states that whenever you see something interesting, like a multicellular creature or human language, cooperation is involved. When you look at the history of humans you do see a struggle with the wars and conflict that separates the weak from the oppressive. Still, cooperation is seen even within ancient civilizations where different tribe or community members would hunt, gather, tend to the children or the defense of a settlement – each working together in the effort to mutually survive and benefit.

Studies show that cooperation has been very important in human evolution; more so than being dominant or the strongest within a community. Cooperation creates an altruistic society dynamic where instead of fighting and dominating we find compassion and cooperation as a catalyst for evolution.

So it seems there may be a fine line between what Darwinism teaches and this newly discovered Responsive Universe we all reside it. And with a closer look, cooperation is not just left to humans. The animal kingdom is full of cooperation from a single cell that multiplies to the construction of cities by humans to the intricate communal attributes of nesting ants. It reminds me of the quandary of gravity verses quantum physics: Two completely different and valid theories describing matter and energy – two theories that exist but do not mesh well. Darwinism and Cooperation may also be two valid theories that exist on parallel fronts but have yet to be fully understood and incorporated into a theory of everything.

So what kind of wisdom can we gain from this message?

We as altruistic humans need to stick up for our values, building from the strengths and energy from within and within our surroundings. Like much in life, Darwinism is not so cut and dry. Being strong does not necessarily mean stomping on the backs of the weak to survive. There is no conscious evolution found there. It seems the strength may be in mindfulness of ego; not reacting blindly or not being a pawn of corporate America. Still, we need to understand that we are all connected – cooperation and compassion it seems may make us stronger and not weaker. Natural selection may very well weed out the weak – those that fight and kill – those that are not connected and helping move humanity forward. The definition of Darwinism and Cooperation may live hand in hand – our strengths coupled with our compassion is the driving factor in evolution.

John C. Bader

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Article Reference: The Cooperation Instinct by Kristin Ohlson; Discovery Magazine.

Image courtesy of Meship.com

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