Strategies are the most important part of human survival.
This is a difficult book to write in any case. Better still, my experience is that while it contains some great ideas, you probably don't care a lot. Humans just don't think that way and this is not an important topic to most people. If you are reading this though, the chances are it's because of what I said about genetics. Now that problem is going to cause some pain, maybe enough to get some interest in my other ideas like this one. What I have also seen is that few people get the real meanings of what I am saying and much of that is because it tends to be complicated. This topic, it's not an easy one but it is probably the most important topic in human strategy. So to communicate an understanding of it, I'm going to take an indirect route to it. It's probably even worth mentioning that this represents decades of work so please pay attention and try to get this meaning.
The topic is that at the deepest level, there are only two strategies of human survival. That's it. Thats seems surprising to me, but I intuited it and now I think I can explain why in words. The first strategy is what we have used in the past. The second strategy is what we must use in the future. This must be understood if humans are to have a future as more than animals. Comparing the two is pretty difficult, but that is the point of this essay or at least describing both of them. By default this means a tribal strategy and a strategy for the ecology that follows the tribal ecology. They might actually be similar strategies, maybe it would work out that way, but it turns out they are very fundamentally different. That means that for the new ecology, civilization, to work, a deep difference ins strategy is going to have to be understood. Luckily, it is familiar. I'm jsut trying to be very convincing.
First though must be a quick consideration of just what does this mean to say that there are only two possible fundamental strategies? In these cases it is easiest to explain by using archetypes. I'll use the well known archetypes of the show Star Trek. They used alien races to depict archetypes. There were the Klingons, a warrior society. There were the Vulcans based on reason. There were Ferengi based on mercantile strategy. There were Romulans who were basically passionate Vulcans... whatever that meant exactly. There were also humans that embodied many of these archetypes. In history the Klingons might have been represented by the Spartans, a famous warrior society. David Brin talked about five social archetypes that were very interesting - Paranoia, Conformity, Machismo, Feudalism and Otherness. The point is there can be rather basic operating strategic premises to human behavior. The question is how far down can you go before you get to fundamental principles and are they real? According to this essay, at the bottom is one, possible two fundamental first causes to human strategy.
Before examining what those fundamental strategies might be though, it must be asked not what they are, but if they are so important. Is there some fundamental strategy that weaves from the deepest part of your instinct and reason up to the level of you taking a sip of water and every strategy or action in between? There is good reason to think so. Humans are clearly capable of intuitively performing amazing feats of logic and reason. The main subject of philosophy is to convert that intuitive logic and reason into language that can be evaluated for accuracy using the tools of Critical Thinking to evaluate it as explicit logic and reasoning. We can intuitively create amazing logical calculations that can be proven to be unbroken chains of valid explicit logic. Very basic and simple premises can support complicated higher order strategies. This is important for a number of reasons including that instincts are going to be of limited complexity and certainly far simpler than their expression in a mature animal behavior or social behavior. I use the word strategy, but survival strategy means moral strategy and these basic premises are going to have to operate at the level of moral instinct as well as leading to sophisticated survival strategies. At the level of moral instinct or strategy, they are not going to be complicated. Life isn't that complicated.
The First Strategy
I have often looked for basic meanings in C. Darwin's explanation of life as a process of adaptation driven by natural selection. If there are Natural Laws in this world, at least one should be found there. History has tended not to treat Natural Laws very well, but the laws of thermodynamics seem to hold up pretty well and evolution is a corollary of them. I think there are two natural laws to be found there in evolution. The first Natural Law of Biology is simple and almost a tautology. That is that Life is about Survival (in the evolutionary sense). That is a fundamental premise of this book. It has always been described as a premise and not a natural law. It should not take a lot of discussion of description aside from pointing out what should be obvious, that it is about more than the survival of the individual.
The second basic meaning is more complicated and important. It is also not something C. Darwin said. That is "Survival of the Fittest" and is attributed to Herbert Spencer. Much discussion has been applied to that phrase. The commonest point made is that no one knows what the "fittest" means other than what survives in nature. Biology students are taught that the useful meaning of the term is "survival of the survivors", which is only so meaningful. I think there is something more though. It is not the meaning of "fittest", but how does that work and how many does that represent? It could be as large as the part of a species that is healthy - "survival of the fit". In a harsh environment, that might be a small percentage of the species every generation. To many species though, including humans, "fittest" includes competition with other members of your species. We inherently know that competition is basic to our survival strategy. Even for humans this is not necessarily the case. If the real competition is with nature because of a harsh environment, there may be little competition with other humans. It may even require a high degree of cooperation instead. Competition has tended to be the rule though for humans as we have developed more complex societies. It is a distinct biasing that comes from our instincts and strategic premises. As is the case for many mammals, it's actually different for men and women though. Men have far more to gain reproductively from competition. Males can potentially have far more children than females. Women can only really compete for resources to support their young. Men can compete for women and it is deeply woven into our basic strategy. Women compete differently, usually with less direct violence. Violence works better for men. Historically and during the later time of the tribes, warfare and violence were very successful strategies. When humans weren't busy struggling against nature for survival, they instinctively struggled against each other. (By the way, this is also the natural strategy of complicated thinking machines.) The natural law in this is that if competition will bring advantage, then it will be used. "Fittest" becomes partly defined by competition with other members of the same species. This strategy is defined by nature and so becomes an extension of the first Natural Law of Biology - Life is about Survival and Competition. I repeat - this strategy is defined by nature and was well described in the last chapter.
The Second Strategy
This is being paused here, because though this is correct, there is a second strategy that is appropriate to a civilization, there is a far easier description that can be made. There are two genetic selection regimes, Natural Selection and Artificial Selection. Looking at the differences related to those, it should be easy to make a description of two ecologies including why a new strategy is needed for civilization and perhaps even offer a strong proof why that strategy, increased cooperation, is necessary.
Ahhhh... The end of a book. The place where you go back and start from the beginning.
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Please keep in mind that these strategies are described to give a background. They are part of a path to what I think will be the key to understanding a survival strategy we need to use in the ecology we are developing and will allow civilization to be a long term ecology, life support system, where humans can survive and develop long term. Oh, and for the moment please bear with me referring to the critical strategy as "M". There is a reason I am sneaking up on it.