The Superorganism

Biologist, Richard Dawkins, argues in his book The Sellfish Gene
that evolution favors the genes of self-serving individuals only
not groups.

O.E. Wilson, in his earlier books, " Sociobiology: The New Synthesis" "The Ants" and his latest book in collaboration with Bert Holldobler, “The Superorganism” argues the opposite

Wilson’s implication is that large groups of animals survive successfully by working together as a single entity with distributed intelligence.

Darwin is right, but only in the ultra-narrow view of personal contribution towards the group effort.

Wilson is right in the larger evolutionary sense
it is the collective mind which determines our continuing survival
that reality is obvious
in our armies of military might
corporate industry
and democratic government
were the individual does as the majority wants
not as he personally wants

The selfish individual life leaves nothing lasting behind
but temporary personal mementos

The altruistic morality of the group effort
leaves lasting monuments to Man’s existence
the Pyramids
the Great Wall
the Cathedral and Corporate spires

Any visitor from space
would see
that mankind is a single superorganism
so does every astronaut
from Earth

It is worth noting that Dawkins has publicly lamented the title of his theory. It could just as easily have been named the “cooperative gene” and he’d have had to change only his perspective as opposed to the substance of his theory.

The whole notion of selfish genes, at least in their modern iteration (I haven’t read Dawkins’ original thesis) has a lot to do with Nash equilibrium as opposed to the raw selfishness found in perversions of Mills et al. found in crasser interpretations of liberal theories of economics – indeed, liberalism in general. Yes, the individual exists (I’ll abandon my normal polemic in this case and admit that – though it is a lot less fun) but the individual exists within a context (ahhh, back to my Communitarianism) and so the success of an individual both ought and can only be viewed and understood from within that constrained context.

I could go into examples of selfish genes but that is inside baseball. Instead, I’ll use the selfish cell as a metaphor for the selfish gene because it is more accessible (we can go down the rabbit hole to trace these events to selfish genes, though they ironically tend not to be what are classically considered selfish genes, hence my simplifying the message). Cancer is a selfish cell in the libertarian/Randian sense. It has freed itself from all attachments and has gone into business for itself and itself alone. Left to its own devices, the results are catastrophic. In a multicellular organism, a properly selfish cell wouldn’t become cancerous because it “understands” (anthropomorphisms are, again, a useful tool not an actuality) that its success hinges on the success of the whole (at least until menopause).

Thanks for the clarification
without it
Dawkin’s hypothesis
taken to its logical conclusion
would mean that each specie
would evolve into a single super being

There is no togetherness when it concerns humanity.

Human beings do not work together in a collective effort because there is no collective interest that is all encompassing for all individuals to benefit equally where instead there is only individuals working out of self interests largely against each other competitively which can be illustrated by observing inequalities or unequal distributions when it concerns interaction.

There is no superorganism because human beings do not work for the advancement of each other collectively but instead only work for the advancement of their own individual self interests against each other.

Family values are the foundation of human society
Parents sacrifice willingly for their offspring

Competition is an immature state of consciousness
that adults grow out of

The theory of Psyche-Genetics
which correlates individual stages of maturity
with that of the collective consciousness
argues that the Superorganism is still evolving
not yet graduated beyond its teenage

A simple fact of life is that adults give
and kids take

The current degradation of family and extended family values
is a temporary evolutionary aggravation

millions are already graduating
into a Nuclear Age of responsible parenthood
reaching out fior the sake of their kids and themselves
to steward the home planet selflessly

Of course the truth as always lies in the middle - we are both selfish individuals and unselfish collective entities. We are personal and social, we are defined within and by genetic predispositions and personal psychology as well as by inherited cultural conditionings and myths and collective sociology. We are above all complicated beings, thus our endless squabbling over what we ‘are’.

. . .Society creates us, the family creates us, evolution creates us, we create ourselves. . . the interplays between these constitute what we are in a mental or immaterial sense, personality-wise, intellectually, nonspecifically, heterogenously and homogenously, consciously and conscientiously, of parts and of wholes, superimposed and superposed, within and without, subsumed and mapped onto, mapped within, below, above, a context and contextualising . . . we Flow, we are not definite . . . we ride waves of forces personal and impersonal which we can neither define nor sense, let alone ever understand . . . we are an aggregate, the personal from the impersonal, and the impersonal from the personal, the micro from the macro but also the inverse as well, and extraneous to these in addition, perspectives beyond and far-removed, disconnected . . . the dynamics defined reciprocally and biunivocally of lineal shoots and trajectories, as well as diffuse, networked and transubstantiated, spanning horizons, migrated and Nomadic, desolate, despotic, tyrannical even as each of these weaves flows back into the collective organism, the unconscious of shared experience and memory, the subtlety of emotion and expectation and intuition, the quantum, the flux, the instinctive sensed connectivity and animal magnetism of the body and its functions, reactive against and acting upon isolate parts fed pulsing back into the loop of the infinite evolutionary spiral. . .

Well put, old fruit
clearly :smiley:

Magnet Man: Your posts always seem to have the same underlying theme behind them. From this I have been able to infer your political leanings quite easily. It seems to me that you identify with liberalism and socialism. I used to identify as a liberal, but then I noticed a glaring contradiction that exists in modern day liberalism. Neo-liberals seem to advocate diversity, but then they also advocate more government and less individualism. How can diversity be achieved without individualism? Individualism is what makes one person different from another. It is our inherent traits themselves that are under attack by increases in government control and loss of liberty. You cannot really have both a lack of liberty and human diversity at the same time. Furthermore, another problem exists: That when a man is not free to do what is right or what is wrong, but only that which is prescribed to him by others, then how can there be any just men? In a hive-mind society there is no good, and there is no evil. There is only conformity and non-conformity. Even if conformity conforms to the needs of the majority, who is to say that the majority is either just or correct? Isn’t it possible for the majority to make mistakes? In fact, I would argue that most of what the majority thinks and believes is entirely erroneous now, has been all throughout history, and likely will be far into the future. In a society where everyone is equal, smart people must be dumbed down, and strong people must be weakened. Equality is not a natural state of being. In nature there is no equality. Lions feed on Gazelles but Gazelles do not feed on Lions. Rodents are not equal to birds, and neither are equal to fish. Why should a mouse be so small and defenseless when an elephant is so large and powerful? Equality is a fictitious state invented by the human mind to make us feel less guilty about inadequacy. Ability is not the issue. The real issue should be what someone does with their limited capacity that matters. We all have limits, but the real heroes are the people that push those limits beyond what everybody thought was possible.

But more importantly, in a society where every non-just action is completely prohibited, and every just action is mandatory, how does one go about cleansing their karma? If I pay my taxes because I am required to and that money goes to feed a couple moms on welfare, then do I gain dharma from that? Of course not. I am required to pay my taxes. Furthermore, with that same money I could have kept the government out of the loop and fed twice as many moms on welfare on my own. Now what if after I pay my taxes I want to be generous, but I can no longer afford to be because I paid my taxes? All of the sudden I have this entity forcing me to be just and thereby removing any means of me being just of and by my own volition. I just don’t see how one can employ any agency governmental or otherwise to force society to be just, happy, smiling brethren of a global village. As soon as they do, the person is being just the same amount as a robot who is programmed to be just. In effect, justice itself becomes a thing in the past. It becomes a matter of conformity. Is conformity really just? Even if it is, what is the purpose of having a society of homogenized peace loving robot brethren? If you are programmed to be peaceful, then are you really being peaceful? I would say no. If you use my arm to beat somebody up, then I have not beat them up. You have beat them up using my arm. Neo-liberals don’t want humanity to prosper it seems to me. They want to destroy humanity as we know it. They want to get rid of the very thing that it means to be human. That thing is free will. My kindness means absolutely nothing if I am being forced to be kind. And if everyone is unanimously is forced to be kind, then the act of kindness itself is destroyed in the process. In this scenario nobody can be kind of their own volition, therefore kindness simply becomes an act of conformity not kindness.

In order for a positive effect to be rendered by the actions of humanity, it takes both desire and effort on the part of the people who want to effect the world positively. The idea that you can employ another agency to make the world positive without any effort on your part, nor the desire or effort on the parts of a good many of the others who also employ this same agency is such fallacious reasoning that I am baffled by it. It is a lazy man’s version of making the world a better place. Don’t get off your couch and do something to make the world better (oh God no!). Just stay where you are, give up a large portion of your income, push a few buttons on a screen once every couple years, and conform to whatever they tell you to and it will all be better. Does anyone here honest to God believe it is that easy?

It seems to me that individuality is the core tenet of a successful society. When left to their own will, some people will act selfishly, others selflessly. We see this same pattern in nature. Cooperation helps some groups of animals subsist with ease, while competition provides obstacles that teach animals to overcome and get better in the process. It is adversity that is such an important part in development. Some animals act only for the good of the whole, the most extreme cases being bees while some animals are entirely anti-social, aardvarks being the most extreme case. Evolution is a combination of cooperation and competition. Humanity would do well to follow that same model. As pointed out in this thread, things are not all one way or the other. It is deciding how to set up the structure of society and where to place the competition, and where to place the cooperation. For example, in business there should be competition. With consumerism there should be cooperation. I have frequently advocated buyers unions on here. And I still believe to this day that the only way to have a truly free market is to have competition in business, cooperation in consuming. Can we all agree that freedom is good? If not, then is slavery good? If we want to avoid slavery, we have to learn to coexist peacefully as free men. But is not something that any governing body, or a majority can do for the governed. If they do, then they create slavery, the very thing we are trying to avoid. It is something that every man must learn his or herself. There can be guidance, but there cannot be control. Once the good of one man is done through the many against their wills, it ceases to be good. If we could just begin raising people up and encouraging them to do good rather then holding them down and preventing them from doing evil, then what a magnificent society this could become. But it cannot, never has, and never will be done through force. Diversity is a virtue. By controlling and manipulating you erase that virtue and do a great disservice to not only humanity, but nature herself.

I rest my case.

Absolutely brilliant! If only more people would take a hard, critical look at diversity, liberty, equality, social morality and justice. . . these concepts need to be understood more deeply and more in line with real-world practicality and natural effects and circumstances. While you take a somewhat simplified perspective here, it is not for the most part at the cost of the accuracy of what you say - a detailed and more complete political-social-cultural analysis of these terms and concepts would span tens of pages, easily.

Your analysis here is a nice deconstruction of these premises to briefly show where and how they might fit together, what they truly mean given a society of free men with independent rights. Most of us tend to take these concepts at face values and assign “good” or “bad” value judgment to them and call it over, and vote for whoever spouts the most of these “values” that they have been brainwashed to hold - it is so essential to take a better look at these things. I am pleased with your analyses and conclusions here, thanks for sharing :slight_smile:

Good, yes, though not new - these are the very premises the original American government was based on, and in extension those which Ayn Rand advocated in the face of the rising collectivism of the 60’s. Trust in individuality as the source of good. Good as something unpredictable but reliable.

With all due respect to all that has been saidf about individual liberties
let me just say this
there is a time for play
and there is a time for work
there is a time for peace
and a time for war

At this moment in time
we have the polluted mess
of an entire Age industrial development to clean up
this is a time for work
and for waging outright war on the mess
the name of the game right now
is global stewardship
with everybody involved in large-scale
planet management projects

If every child wishes to go their own way
ignore the call to concerted global effort
and do their own thing
then we all have less than a decade left to play
its your choice

my advice
clean up the room first kids
then you can go play

Curious, because Ayn Rand began writing using these themes in this way in the mid. 1930’s and couched them within the context of a struggle between the individual and the state in “communist” USSR. Her reaction to her childhood is quite predictable though, as she grew up during the soviet civil war, and the ensuring grab for power by Stalin. Where things strike me as a little off, is the fact that she begins writing out against the welfare state at a time when workers are just first getting rights in the workplace. She wrote Anthem in 37, and started the fountainhead in 1936, and to give that some context the National Industry Recovery Act passed in 1933, Child Labor Laws were an ongoing process, the Wagner ACT was passed in 1935, the Fair Labor Standards Act passed in 1938, civil rights isn’t even on the horizon, neither is title 7.

She is litterally writing this stuff at a time when Children work 12 hour shifts in miserable conditions, Unions are just starting to be legal, you cannot sue your employer for unsafe working conditions, OSHA hasn’t been dreamt of yet, and employment in general resembled The Jungle more than what it does now. What this means is that she looked out at society, saw the the struggle for basic worker rights being waged across America, and decided it was so unacceptable that she would warn of a dystopian future in literary form.

This lunatic bitch, given when she was writing, was writing out against the basic rights necessary for individualism to be even remotely practical for anyone but powerful businessmen. An elite Aristocracy. The irony is supreme given who has appropriated her today.

America is fairly clean. I am a little concerned about the mercury levels, overfishing, deforestation, and industrial waste in a few areas in some of the major cities, but in general it is pretty darned clean. That whole environmental protection movement started here in the sixties. If you really want to protect the environment, why don’t we start with genetically modified foods? This is a menace that once it gets out of control is entirely non-reversible. Cross-contamination of GMO with organic and wild crops is in my opinion the #1 environmental issue followed by deforestation and then water pollution and chem-trails. Speaking of chem-trails, why don’t we do something about those? The damned government is poisoning the environment with those on purpose.

So which issue were you talking about Magnet Man? I bet it wasn’t any of those, the REAL environmental issues. Nobody wants to live in a toxic polluted squalor, but some of us aren’t stupid enough to believe in phony climate change, or to believe that the gas that plants breathe is a toxic waste gas. In the 70’s the crisis was global cooling. Then shortly later it got changed to global warming. Well now the earth is cooling down again (along with Mars which shared the warming/cooling trends) and suddenly it isn’t “global warming” but “climate change”. If the temperature goes up, its carbon emissions, if the temperature goes down, its carbon emissions. Damn that carbon! Why are we and all the plants and animals made of it! That stuff is so evil. I am sure if there weren’t any carbon the planet would stay exactly the same temperatures every year, there wouldn’t be any hurricanes, and everything would be hunky dorey! There wasn’t any ice age, forget it! It wasn’t 19 degrees hotter in the middle ages, why if it were, the polar bears would’ve died cause everyone knows them and penguins can’t swim. :unamused: No, it is in fact carbon emissions, not the sun that heats everything up. Don’t look at those solar flares, don’t juxtapose the temp charts for the earth and mars, don’t juxtapose the charts for CO2 increase and temp increase, just ignore the admitted fraud at East Anglia, ignore the 31,486 American scientists have signed a petition, including 9,029 with PhDs that say global warming is a hoax, and just go rent yourself a copy of “Inconvenient Lies” and go back to sleep. Nothing to see here:

Now here’s one for you! Google “global warming” and see how many of these sites come up. A big fat 0. Even less before east Anglia. Before that, it was almost uncontested on Google. Thank you Magnet Man, and all you liberals for furthering the agenda of oil companies and large corporations you abhor. Thank you so much for blindly following the mainstream media who is entirely owned by sinister global corporations you profess no love for. In your battle for this hoax, you lost your souls. Liberalism used to be about preserving civil liberties, fighting the police state, fighting for equal rights, helping the less fortunate, and yes, preserving the environment. But in this fight, you exhibited a lack of critical thinking, and failed to question the information you were given just simply because it suited your agenda sounded good. When you sold out the truth as such, you sold your souls right along with it. Now you have become the very thing you abhor. You are prostitutes for large corporations who are heavily invested in the carbon tax fraud. You fell asleep and started worrying about people bar b queing in their backyards while cameras were installed on every traffic light in your cities and the bill of rights went through the paper shredder. Groundless wars were started in the name of your protection, but you were too busy stopping Exxon from drilling oil in Alaska. You sold out humanity for a few animals who weren’t really even endangered to begin with. Now YOU are the tyrants, the very people you used to hate. YOU are the ones spying on your neighbors and setting up stazi groups. It was your loosening of the grip on greedy corporations, and blind obedience in the name of corporate environmentalism that allowed them to set the stage for a world dictatorship. I can’t tell you how grateful your enemies are for your help and cooperation with their vile schemes.

Now can we please get off this global warming hoax, and talk about what we are going to do to fight our common enemies? We libertarians share the same enemies as you liberals minus Barrack Obama. But hey, you guys are coming around about him too. And soon, you will realize that our enemies are your enemies. Lord knows, we could use your help. Your vigilant activism and grassroots organizing could be put to good use. We could turn around the police state. What would Thomas Jefferson, world famous liberal who was the founder of the democratic party say about you now? Look back at everything that your liberal mothers and fathers fought for. Are you going to let all of that go because you got duped into a climate change fraud by some global corporations and greedy tax hoarding governments looking to sell us all out? It happens to the best of us. Just be men, admit you were wrong, and join the fight with libertarians and paleoconservatives (liberty and smaller government minded conservatives like Ron Paul) against our common foes. We all want a clean environment. We all want liberty. We all want a greater standard of living. We all want to control greedy, immoral corporations. Now can we agree that the government is corrupt? By expanding government you expand corruption. We can argue the ideals later. But for now, there is a HUGE mess to clean up, and I am not talking about an environmental one. There is that too, but before that there is a huge political and economic mess.

Let me redo your analogy Magnet Man. And let me start by saying we are not children. We are grown assed men. We are NOT wards of the state. We are responsible for our own lives and actions. Until we learn that, we are doomed to follow the same failures over and over again. Each man is responsible for his own behavior. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, and worry about yourself. Before you go casting stones, reflect on your own sins.

In the mean time, there is a time to clean up and repair things, and there is a time to defend yourself. There is a war that needs to be fought all right. But before we fight pollution, we must fight corruption. For without that, we may lose the right to fight pollution altogether. In a one world totalitarian state, there will be no environmental activism. There will be whatever the financial oligarchy says.

So, yes there is a mess. But before we clean up the mess, shouldn’t we deal with the robber barons who kicked in our collective doors, stole our valuables, ransacked/pillaged our living space, and put their government guns to our heads? The very people who made the mess are the ones aiming guns at you and your children demanding you pay them for the clean up. What’s it gonna be folks? Clean up the mess, so the despicable robbers can steal from us over and over again and make more messes as they increase demands for the cleanup of said messes? Or should we take the power back, defeat our enemies, and clean up the mess together while celebrating our victory? Our freedom has been dilapidated folks. If we want to clean something up, why don’t we dust off that liberty bell and repair that crack. After people hear once again the ring of freedom, they can safely come out of their homes and clean up the mess that the storm troopers left in the wake of their tyranny.

Our enemies are yours Magnet Man, and other liberals. The sooner you realize that, the better for us all. We are all in the same boat together. Before you go worrying about what’s in the water, can we patch the cracks and prevent the boat from sinking? We are awfully low on life rafts, and we are knee deep in sea water. If we don’t do something now, we will end up in the drink with sharks ready to devour us. Dead men don’t clean messes. They just bleed all over the place.

It is good to know you are concerned, dreamscaper
even if we are not quite on the same page
about where to focus first.

Pollution is everywhere
America included
for instance
the water table under New York city will take a century to filter clear
and it will not get better until the city is abandoned
and rebuilt elsewhere with long term sustainable goals this time
same with ALL the big cities
LA sits right on top of the San Andreas
which is long over-due to pop
the big move should have started a decade ago

and no more urban sprawl when we make the move
everything must go vertical
especially agriculture
40 acres vertical
can become 4000 high-rise greenhouse acres
we have to use less and less space
to accommodate and feed more and more people

The oceans have to be properly managed as a habitat
with its waves and tides tapped as a major energy source
there is a pollution island the size of Texas
currently floating around and around in mid-Pacific currents

So the large scale global stewardship challenges I refer to
beyond the clean-up
is major stuff for all of us
robber barons included
an entire makeover of our entire MO

All to soon it will be do or die

I have no enemies
other than ignorance

I was about to give a respectful and well thought-out response to what I thought was an at least well thought-out stance on the economic, political, and social climate of the (American) world.

Then I read this:

…and I stopped reading.

Chem-trails. Really.

There. Is. No. Such. Thing.

To be fair almost the entire scientific community stands behind the selfish gene, which only means genes are the unit of selection not individuals or species. Its not Dawkin’s original idea but a popularization of other biologists work. None the less dawkins lucidly explains and expands on the ideas.

Some examples, likely many, can only be explained through genes being the unit of selection. For example certain genes in mice and humans are irregularly heritable and not beneficial for the host.

" I’ve said this many times that ideas about evolution via selection of individuals or groups. I’ve referenced genes that can harm males but thrive in females such that some species of insect almost reach extinction, in humans such sexually antagonistic genes probably cause hemochromotosis (beneficial till menstruation stops/in childhood but increases the death rates of middle aged men) but theres more extreme examples of gene selection I want to mention. Cuz i’m right.That is some genes compete to get into a sperm/egg even at the detriment to their carriers. The T-locus gene in mice, 2 copies of the abnormal allele is fatal to males, males with just one copy transmit it to 90% of their offspring opposed to the regular 50% The genes actions benefit itself but harms the individual and species through continued propagation.In humans polycystic ovaries (responsible for 21% of visits to infertility clinics) is characterized by menstrual irregularities, obesity and masculination. Studies have found that 80.5% of the sisters of women with polycystic ovaries are also effected. A rate too high to be explained through auto-sominal dominant or X linked gene. To date the most reasonable explaination offered is by William Hague and his colleagues who suggested that it may occur from transmission of DNA in the cytoplasm of the ovum or from genes which disort meiosis in ways that increase their own chances of getting into the egg, a process called meiotic drive.Leave this in philosophy as its implications are more than scientific. Anyway more old reasons to discount group selection. (microorganisms also fit gene selection but theres more subtleties there)"

from my thread:

  • (The GENE is the UNIT OF selection)

Well minus the very unlucky and unlikely occurance of having a stray cosmic ray mutate or damage a TS or oncogene. Eating poison before hand is entirely possible, though. But yeah, the estimated likelyhood of any single cell becoming cancerous is tiny, they have up to 6-8 interconnected but seperate cancer defences and must experience a rapid succession of mutation, even then in most circumstances the cell can commit suicide. Cancer treatments don’t actually kill cancer cells, they get the suicide gene to flip on. In cancers that keep growing, most times the gene is mutated, for a long time cancer treatment assumed the wrong thing, that radiation kills cancer cells, but it only prompts them to suicide, if they have no ability to commit suicide, radiation won’t shrink the tumor. Not in regularly “safe” doses.

I meant the lay misinterpretation as seen in the OP. Genes are the units of selection but just as Darwinism is not Benthamism, so too is the concept of the selfish gene not Benthamism. That is all. Hence my discussion on Nash equilibrium with respect to selfish gene theory.

What is the relationship between gene and organism though? A gene is also the organism it is a part of, which I think is what you’re saying in what I’ve quoted here. When too much is made of “the gene” being the unit of selection, the argument seems to have a distinctly Randian character - i.e. the gene is not the organism, the species, etc.

No, the selfish gene doesn’t adhere to Benthamism very well. As the poor mice and polycystic women probably know.