Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Survival of the Fittest: Ignorance is a rough ride.

The learning that takes place during a new experience, becomes a baseline, which is used as a ruler, for measuring future experiences.
Some experiences are pleasant, some are not.
Depending on the predominance of one's accumulated experiences, an assumption will be made during new experiences.
This tends to paint one's perception of an unknown context in a good light, for those that have encountered a predominance of pleasurable experiences.
This tends to paint one's perception of an unknown context in a bad light, for those that have encountered a predominance of non-pleasurable experiences.
Assumptions about the motivations of others are made.
Without the ability to grasp the complete context, benevolent intent will be assumed, by those that have encountered a predominance of pleasurable experiences.
Without the ability to grasp the complete context, malevolent intent will be assumed, by those that have encountered a predominance of non-pleasurable experiences.
What is considered as pleasurable, or non-pleasurable, is initially dependent upon the first presented context, used to explain the first question that arises in the ignorant, regardless of whether or not that explanation is accurate. For example: if one is born into slavery, and is given the explanation that everyone is suffering the same conditions, it will be accepted as normal, even if a larger view would indicate that not everyone is suffering the same conditions. This would result in that ignorant saying that its experience is pleasurable. This indicates a willingness to go along with the suffering, because "more wise people" are doing the same for a good reason, apparently. The ignorant "apparently" has not been inspired to look deeper, as to verify for itself, the conditions it finds itself in. For now..
All is changeable. All evolve. Ignorance evolves into wisdom. Perceptions change. People, and all entities, learn from their mistakes. Context accumulates.
The oscillations, of ignorance, between the extremes of idea, eventually leads to a filling in of the subtle gradients, that connect the extremes of that idea.
The Goldilocks position is arrived at through this experience, for everyone and thing.
Mankind, nor any other kind, are not meant to be stuck on stupid. Life is not meant to be stagnant. Ignorance is not meant to forever be ignorant.
Like the way an apprentice is to eventually become the foreman, so does the wise move on to let the ignorant take over when it is capable of doing so, that being when it has evolved from its mistakes. It does not need a report card, a certificate of completion, or any such crap. More like the bursting forth from seed..
The first experiences one has, become reference experiences, which future experiences are compared to.
Future experiences will be assumed to work out the same way, even though the details of the present experience are not exactly the same.
Ignorance has a hard time distinguishing the details of an experience. Its awareness is a narrow focus of attention, most likely due to the overwhelming sensations. This could be recognized as a fearful condition. There is stress involved.
The feedback one is sensing during a particular experience, can remind one of a past experience. This can inspire a reaction, that is associated with the past experience, even though the present experience is not the same as the past. It just appears similar.
Ignorance has a hard time wrapping its mind around larger concepts. Jumps in contextual bandwidth (degrees of perception - bird's eye view), for example: where water and food come from, are outside the narrow focus of ignorance, and therefore, only what is immediately in front of the superficial sensory input can be grasped. All else is out of mental reach. Perceived scarcity of resources, leads to fear of lack of those resources.
A thirsty man is desperate for a drink of water, not to know how to drill a well. But it is best to teach a man how to fish, than just giving him a single fish. Somewhere in the middle is where the practical win-win situation works. To satiate the immediate need, while asking if he would like to learn how to get a fish when he needs it, and then teaching him, so he will not be dependent upon another. That serves two purposes. One, is to not be subject to another. Two, is to not burden anyone else, repeatedly.
The common perception of "pecking order" or "survival of the fittest", tends to revolve around the idea of a dominant entity overpowering lesser dominant entities. This usually takes place in concern for access to perceived scarce resources.
pecking order = most violent
survival of the fittest = most violent
"Survival of the fittest" as an explanation, is an ignorance based judgement, of how things work.
It is one of the blind telling the other blind, what it thinks is the way things work.
It is an immature percept. It is what is able to be grasped by the ignorant, due to its superficial analysis from superficial observations.
The repeated use of that ignorant percept, as a basis for all present and future interactions, is to retard.
That continued use, does not help anyone evolve.
If you want to keep an entity ignorant, so that you can use and abuse it, as in: slavery, then keep on following that script.
It has been common, for the ignorance based percept, to use the explanation/excuse of "survival of the fittest" or "pecking order", as a tool to dominate others, for a variety of reasons, most of which revolve around superficial perceptions of scarcity of resources.
The dominance of one entity's desire over another entity's desire is at play.
This percept has a total disregard for the environmental condition that it is operating within.
When there is an abundance that surrounds two entities competing for a "scarce" resource, there must be a blindness to the reality of the existence of that abundance that surrounds the two of them.
To say that "survival of the fittest" or "pecking order" provides for harmony in nature, is to be blind to reality.
Peace and harmony for who?
Is the lowest entity in the pecking order in a state of harmony? Is the lowest entity in the pecking order in a peaceful condition? Will peace be maintained? Will the lowest continue to settle for unfulfilled desire? Will the lowest in the pecking order never again attempt to strive for sustenance? How is that harmony or peace in nature?
That is a total blindness to the reality of the situation. Harmony or peace cannot be maintained from such a condition, only discord comes from such a thing.
As an example: For a rancher, when horses establish a pecking order, it appears to result in a condition of harmony. It is for the rancher, but not for the lowest horse in the pecking order. Neither is it for the dominant horse, which has to continuously maintain that dominance. That is getting the herd to self-police. That is not harmony or peace. That is the same as saying we have to kill them over in their country, so that we can be safe in ours. It is a lie. It is a total disregard for cause and effect. Not to mention the potential abundance that is ever present, if only the ignorant can see it as a possibility, and work toward changing its behavior. In other words: one must choose to evolve. One must choose to learn, for one's own benefit, as well as for the benefit of others. That actually creates harmony. The better each individual is capable of standing on its own, the more stable society becomes. Trying to eliminate the enemy breeds more enemies. True peace and "security" occurs when you have no enemies, due to eliminating the conflict, as opposed to trying to eliminate the enemy.
Why "Survival of the Fittest" Is Wrong
You've probably heard it a million times in descriptions of evolution and natural selection. Charles Darwin even liked to say it. But the phrase "survival of the fittest" is wrong, and understanding why can help us better understand what it means to be human.
Survival's Origins
Darwin uses the phrase "survival of the fittest" in chapter four of On the Origin of Species to describe the process of natural selection. But he did not coin the phrase. It was borrowed from English philosopher Herbert Spencer, who first talked about survival of the fittest in his Principles of Sociology. "The term 'natural selection,'" wrote Darwin in The Origin, "is in some respects a bad one, as it seems to imply conscious choice." Referring to the process as "survival of the fittest," Darwin thought, helped clarify things. But the famed naturalist's appropriated turn of phrase turned out to be rather inappropriate, itself.
Princeton biological anthropologist Alan Mann told io9 that in most cases, "survival of the fittest" has been replaced by the term "reproduction of the fittest," or "differential selection." This holds particularly true in discussions concerning mammals — humans, especially. Mann says there are two main reasons for this.
One: for an organism to reproduce, it is implied that it must first live long enough (i.e. survive) to do so. And two: the phrase "survival of the fittest" paints a mental image of what Mann characterizes as "the tooth and claw of bloody nature" — as though every organism in a particular area is perpetually fighting for the ability to survive. In this context, "fitness" can be misinterpreted as an ideal evolutionary goal. "But Evolution acts to produce function, not perfection" says Mann. Moreover, "fitness" should properly refer not so much to characteristics like strength or speed, but rather an animal's ability to produce viable offspring.
On Fish and Humans
Where a phrase like "survival of the fittest" becomes relevant, says Mann, is in discussions about what is known in ecology as "selection theory," or ideas about the trade-off between the quantity and quality of an organism's offspring.
Fish, for example, can produce and fertilize thousands of eggs during a mating session; but the number of fertilized eggs that are eaten, killed, or die in some other way before reaching sexual maturity is huge. This "make as many as you can" reproductive strategy is called "r-selection." Large numbers of offspring are produced, but the vast majority of them perish. And this strategy, says Mann, does, in some ways, follow the concept of "survival" of the fittest.
Why "Survival of the Fittest" Is Wrong
Say you have a newborn fish that is a prey species to a larger, predacious fish. In most fish species, there is little-to-no parental care, so that animal has predator-avoidance behaviors built into its neurological system. When a young fish sees the shadow of predator nearby, or feels the water current of a larger fish, it begins to exhibit predator-avoidance behavior. For many fish, says Mann, this means either swimming very fast, or swimming in a zig-zag fashion. But of course, predacious fish have also evolved mechanisms to catch prey. He continues:
So if the prey fish is going zig zag zig zag zig zag, and the predator fish has evolved mechanisms to go zig zag zig zag zig zag, that particular prey becomes lunch. If however there is a biological variation, and instead of the prey fish join zig zag zig zag zig zag, it goes zig zag zig zag zig zig, it lives another day. So, on that level, survival of the fittest has some meaning.
Why "Survival of the Fittest" Is Wrong
But other animals, and mammals in particular, employ a reproductive strategy dubbed "K-selection." They produce fewer young, so their strategy is based on cultivating behaviors like postnatal protection and nurturing. These learned behaviors ensure their smaller number of offspring will reach reproductive maturity.
Human Behavior and Evolution
"Fitness" refers not to how long an organism lives, but how successful it is at reproducing. And "survival of the fittest" fails to encompass the subtleties of natural selection in mammals, which Mann points out often involve learned behaviors.
"One of the things that's happened in human evolution," he says, "is the time from birth to reproductive maturity and adulthood has been prolonged." This, he continues, probably holds true for most large-bodied mammals (think elephants, for example, or great apes). "When you think about that kind of biological change, it's really pretty difficult to understand, unless there is some adaptive advantage in allowing the young to internalize more behaviors."
Why "Survival of the Fittest" Is Wrong
In other words, increasing the age of sexual maturity makes little sense in the absence of some other evolutionary adaptation that makes it possible for offspring to develop safely over a longer period of time. This insight is crucial for understanding humans (and, arguably, mammals in general) not just in a biological light, but a cultural one, as well.
Consider, for example, that a typical pregnant human usually gives birth to just one child, occasionally two, and very rarely more than that. As a result, human parental investment in offspring is huge. An infant is raised, often by more than one family member, through a very long childhood development and dependency period. This not only ensures that the offspring will reach reproductive maturity, but that it has time to, as Mann puts it, "learn more appropriate behaviors, become better socialized into their society, and by this way become more successful and therefore capable of producing more offspring of their own."
It's therefore likely that the behavioral repertoires of humans, apes and other mammals have become remarkably complex because of the adaptive advantage they've provided as the time between birth and reproductive maturity has increased. On one hand, this allows for evolutionary fitness to be maintained. At the same time, however, it allows room for the possibility of sexually mature, adult animals (who have very clearly "survived," to reproductive age) who do not actually reproduce — once again highlighting the important distinction between "survival" of the fittest and "reproduction" of the fittest.
Among humans, not having children is often a culturally motivated choice, rather than a biological limitation (though both are often at play). People choose not to have children in order to pursue a career, or to raise only a small number of children. Others forego having children for so long that, when they finally decide to conceive, they encounter complications during childbirth. Despite a prolonged maturation period, these individuals are surviving to maturity without a problem. Evolved social mechanisms have played a large part in making that survival possible. But those same mechanisms can also lead to humans not reproducing, in which case their biological fitness would be considered to be very low.
Ultimately, "survival of the fittest" is necessary, but not always sufficient, for the survival of the species.
In other words: greater time between birth of the offspring and sexual intercourse of that offspring, allows for more learning to be handed down to the next offspring. More learning = better choices = better chance of survival.
Dominant behavior towards an entity can only piss off that entity, enough to inspire that entity to put down the dominant one, to make life easier for one's self and offspring.
Again I ask myself, what is the benefit of enslaving another? If you want to eat out its substance, then just get on with it, and kill it, ..or die trying to.
Then there is the desire to have a pet. A forced friendship. Forced "family" fun? Yeah, that always works..
Are we there yet?

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