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Archive for July, 2014|Monthly archive page

The Spectrum

In Culture, Earth, Life, Philosophy on July 4, 2014 at 6:27 am


You can’t even begin to imagine the scale of experimentation that Mother Nature has been up-to regarding propagation of life in various forms. Most of them might end up as a dead end on the evolutionary branches but a large number of those do turn out to be successful and thrive in their niche.


Humans constitute one species among all of this flora & fauna, albeit a flourishing species, if not the most. What I wanted to speculate on today, much like most of these blog entries are speculations, was about the wide range of characteristics spread out over these billions of human beings. The fundamental hereditary units are so numerous whose survival depends on ‘lucky & favorable circumstances’, rather than ‘survival of the fittest’. (The luck mentioned previously can be manufactured by manipulating resources that you may possess, or acquired, or stolen.) This range of difference is not conducive for social amalgamation of individuals, resulting in creation of artificially concocted ‘lowest common denominators’, or totems.


Do you believe in what I believe?


If not, then we have a problem. The most primitive solution to this quandary was the evolution of totems which lead to religion and now you have that totem hanging around your neck, placed nonchalantly around spots that your community gathers. Even when it comes to the application of these totems, we find the spectrum of human behavior varies. The only religion that mimics this endless variation is Hinduism. Crores of Gods for crores of humans. Islam and Christianity vouch for a single entity as their God-totem, which inevitably leads to  squabbles of the violent kind especially when given political connotations, emerging from, ‘you don’t believe what I believe’.


Coming back to the spectrum analogy, the sheer variety of human characteristic is visibly evident in physical traits. The same variation exists in the mental makeup of these vast number of people. People are predisposed to kill & usurp. That is how apex predation works. The notable point is that this instinct gets wired differently in individuals. It is spread out over a huge spectrum just like varied physical appearances in hominids, old and new.


If you ask me, altruism is the greatest experiment concocted by Nature. You will go so far in altruistic methods as long as those actions don’t cost you unfavorable outcomes, but as soon as there’s not enough ‘return on investment’ of altruism, the stakes are back to every man for himself. This is most probably the reason for emergence of conscience & reasoning, to gauge altruism. 

Luke Barrs

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