It saddens me to see how human history struggles to maintain reverence for so many of our top scientific thinkers of yesteryear. It seems to require intense media campaigns, reward ceremonies and remembrance festivities to entice the population into believing, not so much the great mind of the person, but rather in the message he/she is said to have put out. What saddens me about this is the observation that modern authorities stifle any movement, any evolution, on the theories put forward by their heroes. The messages have become commandments written in stone, rather than what they are, scientific theories. Dogmas that never made it into scientific truth.
In the realm of vaccinations we have indicated on many occasions that Louis Pasteur made some terrible assumptions that, even in his own time, were completely dismissed and proven to be wrong by the scientific community. To this day he is put on a pedestal by our medical authority and the public has to pay tribute to his "contribution" to their lives. It is heresy to even ask questions about his so called science. It deserve the death penalty to openly point out his failings. Vaccination is and remains the holy grail, irrespective of science.
Another one of those holy shrines we are going to take a closer look at here today. Once again, much has already been commented on the faults in his theory but I want to, in particular, concentrate on the mistaken assumptions he has made about life, which has led to us, even today, walking further and further away from a truth that would unite humanity rather than divide them.
In 1859 Charles Darwin put forward his evolutionary model based on the assumption that all organisms are striving to increase their numbers at any cost. He assumed that all life forms would only be interested in themselves and would use everything in their power to become larger all the time. This would lead to overpopulation, which in turn would induce a war within nature to be the ruler over the environment.
This concept led to the second false assumption which has become known as the struggle for life. This struggle will begin and is most fiercely fought amongst individuals of the same species. Slight differences within individual members of the same species would give them an advantage over others and a better chance of surviving. It will ensure that strong genes are being passed on by claiming top spot. It will ensure that the strong survive and the weak die. Darwin called this process a natural selection. Later on he named it survival of the fittest.
Through this process Darwin assumed further that over a long period of time very small inherited modifications would occur within the offspring that would account for evolution itself. Scientists have over the years questioned this conclusion in many aspects. One of their powerful arguments is that evidence for the existence of a whole array of evolutionary in-between steps is completely missing. Furthermore there are evolutionary steps where from one species to the next, in evolutionary terms, a major shifts has occurred that cannot be explained by logical progression.
There are two very important issues with regards to scientific truths. One is that all observations must be explainable using the known truth. And two, that all observations are valid and should be taken into account.
When we look at nature and everything in it we begin to see how struggle and competition only has a limited role to play. All spheres of life everywhere in the world show impressive examples of social associations, symbiosis, cooperation between animals and animals, between animals and plants, between plants and plants, and between multicellular organisms and bacteria or fungi. In nature cooperation and communication are abundantly present and more important than the struggle for individual supremacy.
An impressive example of this is provided by the simple amoeba. As soon as one of the amoeba starts to starve, it sends out a message via the release of a chemical. Every other amoeba that picks up this message starts producing the same chemical which attracts other amoeba from the vicinity. They cling together forming what looks like a tiny little slug and they move in a coordinated and synchronized manner towards a warm and sunny spot. Here they form a hemisphere out of which grows a stalk because some amoeba straighten themselves upwards, then becoming hard and they die. Others climb to the top, harden and die too. About 20% of the group sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the entire group. The remaining ones climb up the stalk, form a capsule and transform into spores. At a later date, when the circumstances are right, these capsules open and the spores are carried by wind and rain to more abundant pastures. Each of those turn into an amoeba again and the whole cycle can begin again.
Famine and distress do not result in a struggle for life as Darwin suggested but the adverse conditions are overcome by a peaceful solution, by cooperation and mutual help, including self-sacrifice in favour of the group.
The biologist Lynn Margulis has proposed that the symbiotic relationship between plants and plants via a fungal network connection and a similar relationship between plants and a colony of ants, also via a fungus network, is a prerequisite for plants to be able to colonize dry land. These types of symbiosis have already been discovered in 270 million year old fossils.
Cooperation is the basis of life and of evolution and this is clearly visible at the level of the simplest microbes, the first stage of the development of living organisms. The American scientist James Shapiro found during his investigations that even bacteria form organised associations and go hunting for prey in teams. They are part of a larger cellular organisation, rather than autonomous loners. He concluded that practically all bacteria live their lives in community.
Bacteria are the oldest and the most successful organisms on this planet. This success is obviously not based on them being selfish aggressive monsters but on their ability and willingness to cooperate. Bacteria are the protagonists of evolution. Without them there would be no life on earth.
After the monocellular microbes, bacteria and algae, working for some billion years to provide the prerequisites for the unfolding of life, about 600 million years ago evolution moved on. Monocellular beings united into multicellular organisms. This can not be anything else but cooperative behaviour of living cells, that require the ability and the will to communicate. With multicellularity came the energy problem. For the same body weight a multicellular organism needs ten times more energy that a monocellular being. Better methods of energy conversion were needed and a new type of cell was created with that in mind, the "eucyte" combined with the formation of mitochondria. This cell form is the basis of all later developments, including the human being.
Whatever gave rise to the multicellularity and however it occurred, it can only have had cooperation in mind, and not struggle for life or the war of the survival of the fittest. This principle is still at work today and it is the engine of the evolution. That is how the ecosystems fit together, whereby every life form is, in some ways, dependent on every other life form. It is, and cannot be anything else, a cycle of life. Food needs to be available and is available because some other living creature produces it. Waste needs to be cleared up and it is being cleared up because some other living creature does so. In every constructive process - evolution builds a world, a complete unity - there has to be more cooperation than confrontation. Competition stimulates the business only if it is embedded in a higher framework of cooperation. Nature has never done anything else, but humans have still not comprehended this universal truth.
Humanity cannot survive without the cooperation between individuals and without the cooperation of human beings with nature. We need the soil to produce plants and animals we can feed off. Bacteria and insects are keeping our world together, vibrant and alive. They are not enemies. They are more than friends. Friends you can choose at will; these creatures are a living necessity. Life is about living together. It has never been anything else. We need to live for each other and from each other.
Eating and being eaten is part of life, but it is not a priority. This principle needs to be regarded with distinction and to be cleared of the unjustified stigma of cruelty. All animals eat other organisms and if they themselves are not prey to another species, they will be eaten after they have died. Worms and other insects will feed on the decaying matter and they will recycle the material one life has left behind.
It is also important to notice that almost no eater consumes its entire victim. Moles, for instance, are said to eat only half of an earthworm to give the leftovers the opportunity to regenerate and become a whole worm again. In general terms, eating and being eaten in nature follows clearly recognisable rules to confine oneself, to leave something behind for others, thereby creating ecological niches. Early human tribe people and the natural human communities of today are very aware of this principle. You don't take all the honey. You don't take all the fish. You don't steal all the eggs. You don't kill all the animals.
Predators kill only a small share of their prey (about 10%) restricting the prey's numbers and preventing them from increasing their numbers to the point of exhausting the sources of nourishment. They help to stabilize the population in quantity and in quality by mainly eating some of the young, the old and the sick. They never endanger the species! The relationship between predator and prey is in essence a symbiotic one. The competition here is apparently also bound into a larger framework of cooperation.
Another essential aspect of aliveness is that organisms are capable of cooperation and competition. They are able to decide which behaviour is more reasonable under certain circumstances. The living can create and destroy. They can communicate and refuse to communicate. No living being is merely a puppet. There is a certain degree of autonomy within the framework of a greater whole. Making decisions requires a certain consciousness.
Darwin's major power of adaptation is not the most important factor of evolution. That is the creative power, the power that changes the world and has got it to its current state. Evolution wasn't pushed ahead by adaptation but by the invention of novelties, such as photosynthesis, multicellular organisms, wings, legs, brains. These, and many more, added a different dimension to the already existing world. The purpose of these inventions is always to try and "overcome" the restraints of the environment, not simply to adapt to it. Evolution is about adding more possibilities to the existing world. Plants found a way of not being fixed in one place and as a result animals were created. Later on, being mobile adds another dimension to life, so wings and legs are being "invented". As the organism becomes more and more complex it requires a more solid base, and a skeleton is being formed, and more intelligent power to increase the ability to process information, and a central nervous system is being created. It is not simply adapting to the environment it is an innate wanting to overcome the restrictions of the design itself.
The more we look at the solutions that nature has provided the more we are struck by the ever increasing complexity with every step that is taken. Every time there is a greater need of coordination, of cooperation and of communication. Every time there is a greater dependence on a multitude of factors in order for life to be sustained. This structure would be impossible in a world where each individual, and each group, each species, would only be concerned with its own survival in opposition to all others. An all out war for the one supremacy. In nature it is quite clear no one species is fighting to be "King of the Castle". They are all part of a large ecosystem where there is harmony, a cooperation amongst a great variety of species in order to maintain this harmony. And it is about time we abandoned our attitude of "in order to survive all others are our enemies". In practical terms we should stop destroying bacteria, insects, bugs, rodents, vermin, weeds. In fact we should stop seeing anything in nature as our enemy. Feeling threatened by and being anxious about the world we live in is not a nurturing basis for cooperation and communication.
Promoting Darwin's struggle for life as the main rule of thumb to live by creates fear and conflict, whilst the reality of life is that we can only survive in conjunction with all the rest. We don't need to fight nature, we need to communicate with it and embrace it.
Nature also shows us that trying to survive goes together with others doing the same thing. Our impression, fed by the idea of struggle for life, is that we are in opposition to others and that only through the destruction of the other we will be able to survive. Either I win or I lose, and if I win the other one loses. We are missing the point of win-win. I can look after myself without destroying everything around me.
I can become self empowered without reducing the power of my environment. Looking after myself is not being selfish. When I do that in communication with my environment and in cooperation with my environment both will grow and evolve. I make a choice for myself and these choices will help my surroundings to grow too. The world will benefit from me living an individual life of consciousness, of being aware of what I truly need, and nothing more. Living a life of being aware of what I take and must leave behind for the world that is, in return, also sustaining my survival too.
Seeing it as two entities that have equal rights to existence, my outside world has the freedom to decide how to live and I myself equally have the freedom to decide how I want to live. The intelligence lies in being aware of what this interaction produces. It should be harmony. If it isn't, nature is not designed to allow me to be selfish to the extent that I am allowed the power to destroy life itself. My self empowerment is a necessity to sustain my life within the larger framework of cooperation and co-dependence. I don't gain more self power by diminishing the power that surrounds me. I don't need to learn to fight; I need to learn to cooperate.
Time to abandon Darwin's lessons and finally see the truth in Nature, the beauty of "togetherness".
Self-Empowerment is the engine of cooperation and mutual respect for life.