When there are discussions of how tough life can be, I often hear about ‘survival of the fittest’ by which the speaker means the strongest. But that is not what fittest means. It simply means those who fit the environment the efficiently: Attributes all come with associated costs and the success of a species depend on wether those attributes are efficient enough to compete with other species.
Think of your own life: If you want massive muscles, you’ll be taking time away from when you could be learning sometime, and vice versa. These choices we all have to make, not in black and white, but in gradations of priorities. The same is true for natural evolution. A hugely muscular animal would not last long in an area of very little food, for example.
So what’s my point? My point is to ask the question of what fitness means for the human race at this point – for all of us. I think the answer comes down to the defining feature of Homo sapiens (‘the wise’) which separates us from the rest of the tree of Homo: Our ability to work together. As Chris Stringer recently pointed out at The Future of Text Symposium in London, Homo sapiens out-collaborated the Homo neanderthals – we simply had larger and better social networks.
I therefore put it that for us to thrive in the future this defining characteristic is one we need to focus on enhancing, to the point of becoming Homo collaborator.
Small scale group identification of bands, cities, nations, companies, sports teams and so on have served a purpose in getting us to become the globally dominant species. To thrive, it must become a priority for every group, every individual, to actively work on how we can best collaborate for the benefit of all mankind.
This necessary focus does not come with an additional spirituality, dogma or political perspective beyond itself. Answers as to how we can all work on improve our relationships with all other people will come from all beliefs, all sides of the political spectrum.
To go forward we need to work to fit each other.
Do you agree? If so, how do you feel we should work on this? If you do not, what do you feel is wrong with this perspective – the whole thing or aspects of it?