Survival of the Fittest Misleading

Life is dynamic which keeps things interesting. It is also why we are bad predictors of the future. We have created intricate measures and theories but they still cannot tell us what the future will be because when anything changes, everything changes. As John Muir explained:

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe. – John Muir

We are all interdependent and nobody can survive without everything else. We need many abilities and capacities because the unexpected often happens and we must adapt. This means we need critical thinking so we can quickly adjust and adapt to our ever changing landscape. Survival of the fittest seems to have turned into an understanding that the strongest will survive. This, however, is a misunderstanding of what the fittest means. The fittest means the most adaptable.

Since all is connected, to create a thriving society, like a thriving forest we must be able to help each other. Dr. Suzanne Simard demonstrated that plants communicate with each other through their network of roots (or “Wood Wide Web” – see Tree’s to Nuts to People – ALL Connected SuperCooperators) to send messages about needs. A forest then, based on messages sent, diverts water and carbon to the most needed plants to help the forest thrive over any individual plant. Like plants in a forest, Martin Novak explains we humans are also SuperCooperators.

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We are not competitors and when we collaborate and work as cooperators with others and the environment, everyone and everything benefits. As Tim Galloway explains in, “The Inner Game of Tennis” (see The Inner Game of Tennis Provides a Focus for Life), competition is really high level cooperation. We cooperate to play a game that will enable us to improve our capacities and play our best game.

What does this mean? To create the life we want it would benefit us to continually improve your abilities and capacities by learning more and helping others. We are all interconnected, sometimes we need help, sometimes we can help others. Both situations exist, and we don’t know when these different needs arise. Having more capacities enables use to better adapt to meet the every changing needs of our life. Improved capacities benefits adaptability which makes it more likely everyone and everything benefits.

Please share how you are learning more so you can create pervasive, reciprocal, selfish, selfless, synergistic interactions so everyone and everything benefits. Together we can generate comprehensive improvements.

Be Well’r,

Please share your thoughts and questions below.

We Choose Why Things Happen

So often I hear people remark, “Everything Happens for a reason!” as if it were pre-determined that things would happen. If that is so, it takes away meaning from most of our actions since we would therefore have no influence.

As Israel Zangill said,

Take from me the hope that I can change the future and you will send me mad.

Yes everything does happen for a reason but it is the reason that we decide. As William Shakespeare proclaimed.

Nothing is either good or bad, thinking makes it so.

This idea has a special meaning for me as a survivor of a tragic car accident where the driver and other 2 passengers were killed and I was left in a coma and temporarily paralyzed on the right side of my body. Was there really a pre-determined reason 3 young adults should be killed in an accident? As a 17 year old, after months and years of recovery I was left with the difficult question, why I am still here but my friends are not? What made it even more difficult were the caring friends peppering me with the idea that I was saved for a reason.

I had trouble with that idea because if there was such a thing as a higher power, why would 3 people have to be killed to send me that message. As Jonathan Haidt shared, a contradiction in religion is that the almighty cannot be “all powerful, all knowing, and all good”, something has to give. I was able to forge my meaning on life with the help of the wonderful little book by Harold Kushner, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People“. Notice the title is not – WHY bad things happen, just when. For those of you left with these crushing questions, I strongly recommend a read of Kushner’s book.

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To create the life we want and to generate interactions so everyone and everything benefits, it seems we must move forth with purpose and meaning. Purpose and meaning is something my difficult times encouraged me to seek and it is something I continue to strive for in all I do. Life is messy and unexpected  so when things do not work out as planned as often happens. Meaning has helped me and may help anyone move forward toward the goal of a better day and life for all. In these travels, it seems helpful to “forge meaning”, as Andrew Solomon explains in this TED talk. Enjoy.

 

 

In other words, we choose what things mean and it is in doing this that we can give our life value.

Be Well’r,
Craig Becker

Be selfish, selfless, & synergistic so everyone and everything benefits!