Strategies are the most important part of human survival.
This is the first shot at trying to make a comparison between the strategies of the hunter gatherer tribal ecology we came from and the new ecology we must develop to survive into the future. I refer to that ecology as civilization. It must be considered in the context from its creation to at least far enough in the future to describe technology used to provide a sustainable ecology. This follows a standard form ecological analysis of a species' strategy based on energetics and reproduction..
In ways, much of this may seem basic but as the ancient philosopher John Wooden said: "We must master the fundamentals." Sometimes it is easy to skip the basics, but life and the roots of humanity are often very simple. For however tricky biology and evolution can be, if success is often based on simplicity. Answers about human strategy, must include looking at simple foundations. This short discussion cannot possibly describe the variation of humanity, but the important variation in strategy is more limited. This is about strategy.
This essay is meant to be laid out by topic considered in for contexts.
a. The topic being evaluated.
b. How that topic is strategically addressed in the hunter gatherer tribal ecology.
c. How that topic is strategically addressed in a civilization.
d. Similarities and differences of the strategies, particularly conflicts.
1a. Resources, the first foundation of ecology.
b. The hunter gatherer was also a scavenger. Hunting and scavenging provided the protein and energy in the diet that was required for the larger brain size of the human. Gathering of vegetable foods provided the larger part of the calories in the diet. Many types of basic tools were essential to acquiring food. Wood, bone, fur, animal hides, stone and many other natural resources were important products used for survival. Wood was used to supplement food in terms of an energy supply. They used fire to keep warm instead of just the calories from food.
c. Civilization got its start based upon the domestication of plants and animals. It has always depended on continuous development of crops, tools, techniques, and farmers. Currently, our food production is based on advanced industrial techniques. Progress is rapidly being made on completely novel food production technologies. It would take a book to describe all that energy sources humans have used to support civilization, from wind to atomic power to solar energy and soon fusion. We use every raw material imaginable.
d. The important difference in terms of strategies is that the hunter gatherer was extremely limited in the resources they have available compared to what civilization can use and provide. They used what was available with a minimum of processing. Far more advanced tools are used by civilizations for energy and resource production. The most important difference though was probably how the hunter thought. Neolithic hunting behavior was extremely destructive. You can see the results through a time of civilization. Species after species of wild crops have been wiped out or basically destroyed. This includes plants such as forests. The hunter has no off switch. Long before civilization, different peoples practiced forest farming including cultivation of plants that would not be considered domesticated at all. This illustrates the critical difference between the resource strategies of the tribes of civilization. The tribes mostly used what was available and the resource strategy of the hunters ended up being very destructive. Civilization was created around the farmer that broke the ground and sowed the seed and watered it. The herder let their flock to food and protected it from predators. They husbanded the females during birth and protected the infant offspring. Much of the development of technology has been the production of resources that are just not actually available. With tool use, an individual can produce far more resources than they can use. Strategic difference is that both in technique, but more importantly in the husbanding of resources seen so clearly in the farmer and herder.
2a. Society. 2b. Tribal society was composed of people that were relatively closely related. Genetically, it changed slowly, though it did change over time as there were wars, slavery and migrations. Behavior, that is the various strategies used, changed slowly as well. Social behavior would have been dominated by status competition. Homicide would have been a common and effective strategy, especially for the males 2c.
3a. Reproduction. 3b. Individuals in tribal society tried for maximum reproduction. It was a quantity strategy and there was high child mortality, including from prenatal malnutrition. A primary level of maturity was at about seven years old when the social group became more important than the parents. Human societies were polygynous to varying degrees. In some areas, they were probably close to monogamous. In the later tribal ages before agriculture and after its start, clearly there were cases of males with harems of hundreds or more females, though it was most likely far fewer. Still, it was a typical mammalian situation of a dominant male controlling a number of females by aggressiveness strategy that included murder. An extreme case would be in Mongolia where 15% of the population is said to be descended from Genghis Khan. There is some research that suggests that 12,000 years ago, humans risked reaching a genetic bottleneck, because of tribal warfare for females. (I have not seen verification of that theory yet.) 3c.
What would a morality of a machine look like? We do have some examples.
It's about visions. Do you know how human vision works? It includes multiple neural nets in the eye, the visual cortex and the broader mind. They are pattern recognition mechanisms. When you see an image, the first thing the it detects is the outlines of the object your vision is focusing on. Shortly after that it detects the outline of the objects in that. Then it locates where those objects are. It keeps discerning more and more details. At any point your visual cortex working with the neural net of your mind recognizes what is sees. We also have visions with the minds eye, the neural net that is our brain. It is one of the important ways that we think. Magellan is about a vision of leading people to healthier, more vibrant lives. That is the outline of the vision. Behavioral Health, MRx and radiology are objects within that. Looking closer you see more detail in each. It may be the software that maintains the patient's account information or it may be the connection to the health care provider. It may be software that can help a person in psychological crisis or help them with smoking, weight loss, depression or it can connect them to a specialist that can help them in more depth. It is all parts of one vision. Because of what I work on, I have had to recognize many different visions. The Founding Fathers of this nation had a vision. They could see farms and cities. They could look closer at the details and knew that in those cities would be homes, businesses, factories, schools, civic buildings, theaters and far more. They could visualize the roads to connect the cities and even the ports for commerce between cities and to other nations. They could see all that in their vision, but they were all things that would have to be built. The Preamble of the American Constitution was a vision of what they wanted to accomplish. The Constitution was the legal framework to build that vision. They communicated their vision and it became part of American Culture. Many peoples around the world incorporated that vision into their own nation. Abraham Lincoln saw the vision of the colonies and states that had united and were in the process of forming a great nation that extended from the Atlantic Coast to the Pacific Ocean. The builders of the trans-Continental railroad saw more detail as they built the fabric of rail that connected the nation.
Following the Civil War, great fortunes were built that created great possibilities and great problems. The industrial revolution saw long trains carrying coal and iron ore to huge factories that produced more iron and steel each year than had been produced in all the centuries before. Forests were felled. Cities bigger than anything before in all of history were built. Great fortunes were made and great cities-- were built, but there was a darkness to that vision as economic feudalisms were built by an aristocracy of wealth.
--The builders of the great cities of the East had another vision of towering cities of steel, brick and glass. The vision of commerce was growing far beyond what the early farmers and crafters of the Colonies saw. Following the Civil War, great fortunes were built that created great possibilities and great problems. The industrial revolution saw long trains carrying coal and iron ore to huge factories that produced more iron and steel each year than had been produced in all the centuries before. Forests were felled to build cities bigger than anything before in all of history.-- The 20th Century was an industrial explosion, which unfortunately also enabled a new kind of warfare and visions of a new political system. My parents fought that vision in Germany and in China against the rise of what was essentially a mechanized version of the last great Iron Age empire - Rome. They fought for a vision of freedom that was democracy but that was far more developed than could be seen by those that declared the United States to be a democracy. That war swept away much of the past including ruling monarchies and social systems with histories that extended many hundreds of years. After that war was the cold war where the West struggled to create a world open to this new vision of democracy. It was a competition between visions that consumed much of human energy and resources until the end of the century, but there were other visions of progress. Franklin Roosevelt saw economic justice --where the Robber Baron's had tried to create a feudalism with them as the "landed barons"--. John F. Kennedy Expressed many visions of the future. He knew war could destroy humanity. He new that technology was going to take us to places we had never been. He knew going to the Moon would be an inspiration to all of humanity and --help he saw that technology could create a new world for humanity. Martin Luther King, well, he had a dream. It was a vision of social justice where all people enjoyed freedom and dignity. He repeated the first words of the Declaration of Independence that defined the creation of this nation: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." He saw that while any were not free, none were free. In all of these visions were details that had to be worked out and worked for, but all these people saw the outline and some of the details of a better future for humanity, no matter how clearly. All these are visions they shared with the rest of us. They have become goals of our culture and civilization. Not everyone, but enough that progress has continued. Many visions have two sides though, such as nuclear energy. There is a vision of unlimited clean energy supporting the cities and industries of the future. Also, there is a vision of nuclear apocalypse. In any time, there has been change. To those in that time, it looks confusing and chaotic. There is such great change now that it disorients people, but many of us have visions of a good future for humanity, sometimes a great future. Then there is me. I seem to have a knack for biology. When I was younger, I saw this change and my understanding of it was in terms of ecology. It is a science for systematically describing a species, its needs, its ways of surviving. It is a powerful tool of organization and those visions fit into it well, showing humanity to be a species in transition between two very different ecologies - the hunter-gatherer tribal ecology we left when we m--oved started to farm and created cities and a new ecology we have to create where we can survive and develop long term. It is not an ecology that exists in nature and so will have to be built. all Those visions are about how we can create that future strategically. The thing is though, I saw a change that showed me two visions, one of disaster and one of an amazing future for humanity. It was complicated so I had to work hard to tease out the details. It was why I used ecology to organize the problem. One of humanity's greatest accomplishments, the defeat of disease, has a dark potential. We have changed important fundamentals of survival, including one of the most important, natural selection. Much of what we call "human progress" has been the reduction in natural selection and there will be great consequence to that. It is natural selection that drives evolution and keeps life healthy. With it reduced, we will lose the genetic wealth that our ancestors paid for and that has propelled us towards our future. We need to replace that or we will not have a future. I saw a way to ethically and economically solve that problem, how we could husband our genes. It is not a solution for just some wealthy elite, we are all in this together and all of us face the same problem. Already many people see the rapid changes and wonder if there is a future for them and their children or is it just for the gifted. We can all benefit and have part of this future. We must, because there is a more subtle issue. Ask: "if we solved all the problems we know about, what will remain". Solving the genetic problem we have already created will also give us the potential to adapt to the future, for that matter it will allow everyone to have excellent health, beauty and intelligence. We're going to need more intelligence for a more complex society and to deal with more complicated tools that are the machines we build. Natural selection is not only a brutal instrument, but blind and blunt. Humans can do far better as my book "Genetics For A New Human Ecology" explains, but we need to adapt strategically as well. We need to know the strengths we bring from the past, but especially the dangers. We need new strategies. Mostly, they already exist, they are the visions our ancestors have given us, but we need a special understanding of them. We do direct our lives using knowledge and experience as well as reason and logic;, science offers us great power of knowledge, but really it is older drives that direct our survival. It is our ancient moral instincts that direct our choices, based on the moral strategies our cultures offer us. Just as we must use strategy to direct our genetic destiny, humanity is going to have to consciously direct our strategy for survival. The visions from our past must be organized into something that our moral instincts can understand and use. Now I work on "Strategy For A New Human Ecology" to systematically describe the strategies that can take us to a new ecology that will be stable enough for us to survive and develop in long enough to become far more than we are now and make new visions of human destiny. This though is the critical time when we must complete the transition from animals to something far more. That is my vision. So I looked at the changes we have experienced as being a transition period from the so called hunter-gatherer tribal world we left when we started the farms and cities of civilization. I saw that like any species, we needed a stable place to develop and grow. I called that The New Ecology. We must to achieve it. It is where all these visions have been taking us. Some would call it utopia and then write an anti-Utopian novel as has so often been done in the past, but I see it as an ecology, something not just practically achievable, but something that we must achieve. We will have to create it since it is not something that exists in nature. We will build the homes, infrastructure, businesses and industries that will support the lives of our children in the future..