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
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
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.
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