Thursday, April 5, 2007

evolution for everyone



"Of course, even as humans bond together in groups and behave with impressive civility toward their neighbors, they are capable of treating those outside the group with ruthless savagery. [David Sloan] Wilson[, in Evolution for Everyone] is not na├»ve, and he recognizes the ease with which humans fall into an us-versus-them mind-set. Yet he is a self-described optimist, and he believes that the golden circles of we-ness, the conditions that encourage entities at every stratum of life to stop competing and instead pool their labors into a communally acting mega-entity, can be expanded outward like ripples on a pond until they encompass all of us — that the entire human race can evolve the culturally primed if not genetically settled incentive to see our futures for what they are, inexorably linked on the lone blue planet we share....For their universal appeal and basal power to harmonize a crowd, he recommends more music and dancing and asks, 'Could we establish world peace if everyone at the United Nations showed up in leotards?'”

Natalie Angier, "Sociable Darwinism," New York Times Book Review, April 8, 2007