Recognising the underlying (Darwinian) nature of our civilisation


Following publication of Darwin's "On the Origin of Species" and "The Descent of Man", it didn't take long for most people to accept (because those in academic authority did) that humans are descended from apes, or, more correctly, have a relatively recent common ancestor with them (and progressively less recent common ancestors with other forms of life, primates, mammals, vertebrates, etc.). What academics, and thus no one else, did not accept, or even recognise, was the extent to which we are still are apes, dominated by emotions, behaviour patterns and a very limited ability to form accurate interpretations of reality, which evolved long before the advent of civilisation, which itself became the central part of man's environment, to be exploited in a misplaced continuation of powerful individuals' Darwinian struggle for survival and "success", and which the state and the economy (now most efficiently as free-market consumer-capitalism) developed specifically to facilitate.
We deceive ourselves into believing that state and economy developed primarily to serve society (because it does serve those in power, wealth and privilege, including academics, who determine our view of ourselves), but in fact their primary purpose is to facilitate its exploitation. They serve society in the same way that a shepherd serves his flock: not the flock's sake, but for his own (and/or employer's) sake (although he may feel genuine concern for a lost or injured lamb), for the wool and meat that the flock provides, for his own use, but primarily for the market, of course.
Man's limited ability to form accurate interpretations of reality has been greatly improved by the development of science, at least in so far as our interpretations (models) of material reality are concerned. Our interpretations (models) of individual human, political and social reality, however, are as inadequate and far from the truth as they ever were. This is why we fail to recognise the true (Darwinian) nature and thus inherent injustice, inhumanity and non-sustainability of western civilisation, which - as it has developed and is currently structured - represents an evolutionary cul-de-sac, which our species will soon go extinct in, unless we recognise it and find a way out.

As important as Darwin's BIG idea has been for our understanding of life on Earth (and presumably the universe), its even greater importance for understanding ourselves and the civilisation we have created has yet to be recognised.


Return to front page

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *