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The Internet, Darwin, Love, and Dominance

Darwin's voyage on the Beagle with Captain Fitz Roy between 1831 and 1836 led him to consider survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. He identified adaptability to change as the winning characteristic, and not *dominance* as seems the general assumption. In particular, relationships with others *love* can prove more successful than dominance. The favored status of relationships as a strategy appears as a common theme of sacred religious texts. Working toward universal prosperity seems a better idea than pursuit of Armageddon, but what will convince us that a relationship survival strategy serves self-interest and not just altruism?

We understand dominance works through oppression and fear, while relationships flow from communication and trust. The flaw in our understanding comes in making the connection between ourselves and the oppression and fear of others. Communication can repair this flaw, and, there in, lies the fundamental landscape altering millenium changing difference the Internet can make. Communication formerly meant proximity, so the active use of relationship survival strategy correlated closely to territory. The Internet gets the relationship builders into the game of global prosperity. Recognizing the interplay of dominance and relationship strategies in daily life does not present much of a challenge, the real work comes in getting everyone to relinquish the possibility of dominance. The Roman poet Virgil (70-19 BC) famously noted "love conquers all things," but he also added "let us too surrender to love." The Internet enables for the first time a truly a connected society where our shared destiny becomes apparent. Dominance does not need to remain in the mix, because hate will die of its own accord if not fed.

The dominance survivalists seem firmly in control and at least the elite's among this group enjoy unprecedented wealth. The genius elite continue to craft means to transfer wealth upwards and spread fear downward, but they may have reached the apogee of their reign. A similarly clever albeit presently small group works to apply the communication power of Internet to expand the ranks of the relationship survivalists. We should all hope the relationship building campaign displaces the dominance regime sometime before the latter succeeds in realizing Armageddon.

The power status quo understand the threat posed by the Internet better than the oppressed understand the opportunity. Efforts to expand the availability and utility of the Internet meet increasing resistance. Consider efforts by the Bell companies to leverage influence with government to monopolize broadband. Consider the aggressive efforts of the RIAA and MPAA to label peer-to-peer networking as criminal. Consider the value of the so called Patriot Act in framing software programmers as terrorists. Internet enabled communication can expose these efforts as disingenuous attempts to protect the status quo, but first we need to get people connected.

Society can't survive without collective action. We do have a choice about whether the collective action follows from dominance and fear or relationships and trust. The Internet makes a connected society possible. It is not too late to choose the love over hate. Everyone needs to consider whether their energies feed Armageddon or global prosperity. Everyone needs to learn how to use the Internet to build relationships before the pursuit of dominance does any more harm, and, in particular, before it succeeds in its ultimate goal.

Let's save the world.

Daniel Berninger http://www.danielberninger.com/ * You may redistribute this message freely if you cc: dan@danielberninger.com and include this notice.



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