Here's Why Evolution Can Be "Survival of the Friendliest"
The state of nature isn't a "war of all against all." Even no-brainer bacteria "know" that sometimes the game is "Survival of the Friendliest"
2. In “Survival of the Friendliest” Kelly Clancy describes the evolutionary logic of relationships beyond rivalry (e.g, “friendships” deep enough to defend common interests, sometimes a “snuggle for survival”).
3. For instance, ~98% of bacterial species don’t thrive outside mixed-species colonies.
4. "Bacteria are not self-sufficient: They’ve co-evolved to depend on each other." They’ve discovered division of labor, specialization, and cooperation.
5. That specialization is a game-changer. You now need co-workers. If they don’t thrive, you don’t. You’re in a collective extended “survival vehicle” relationship.
6. In a kind of no-brainer biochemical “social contract,” bacterial colonies, like human communities, have to handle the “common good” (suppressing cheating, free-riding, the “tragedy of the commons,” etc).
7. For instance, “helper” species that “provide a common good… may come to be shielded from competition by the species that rely on them, as happens with corals” (not protecting common goods can lower your fitness).
10. This is a case of what Daniel Dennett calls “free-floating rationales”: logic patterns that are inherent in situations but aren’t contained in (or “known” to) the elements or players involved (they’re free-floating, distributed, relational, systemic).
11. Evolution is itself a free-floating logic pattern (for discovering other, ever more effective logic patterns, and enacting “competence without comprehension"). And it “knows” (has mindlessly discovered) that cooperation can improve productivity (if team-threatening cheating is suppressed).
12. Evolution’s logic is like geometry’s: in both relevant patterns and results arise from the intrinsic logic of the elements involved. In geometry, it’s lines, planes, etc. In evolution it’s kinetic functions like survival, varying replication, and adaptation.
14. Unnamed natural laws (free-floating patterns) likely constrain evolution (imposing kinetic logic limits like: negative telos, Turing-inspired universal survivor, cooperation-preserving Golden Punishment Rule, and needism).
Illustration by Julia Suits, The New Yorker cartoonist & author of The Extraordinary Catalog of Peculiar Inventions
VR's coolest feature? Boosting compassion and empathy.
- Virtual reality fills us with awe and adrenaline — and the technology is only at a crude stage, explains VR filmmaker Danfung Dennis. It's capable of inspiring something much greater in us: empathy.
- With coming technological advancements in pixel display, haptics, and sound tracking, VR users will finally be able to know what it's like to really take another person's perspective. Empathy is inherent in humans (and other animal species), but just as it can be squashed, it must be practiced in order to develop.
- "This ability to improve ourselves to become a more empathetic and compassionate society is what I hope we will use this technology for," Dennis says.
We have to practice doing nothing more often.
- Constantly being busy is neurologically taxing and emotionally draining.
- In his new book, Jon Kabat-Zinn writes that you're doing a disservice to others by always being busy.
- Busyness is often an excuse for the discomfort of being alone with your own thoughts.
That's a sharp increase from the 1960s when it took the same share of scientists an average of 35 years to drop out of academia.
- The study tracked the careers of more than 100,000 scientists over 50 years.
- The results showed career lifespans are shrinking, and fewer scientists are getting credited as the lead author on scientific papers.
- Scientists are still pursuing careers in the private sector, however there are key differences between research conducted in academia and industry.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.