Natural Selection Works on Societies

In nature, Darwinian evolution works at the level of individual creatures as they compete to survive and procreate. The process is ruthlessly simple and incredibly effective. Those individuals who leave behind the most offspring become the norm for their species. This is what we call “survival of the fittest.” On the surface, then, it would seem that the stress we humans place on individuality is the right thing to do; at least from a strict Darwinian perspective. Assuming we each make of our own brief lives what we can, evolution will select the most successful among us, and the species will prosper.

Drawing of the tree of life by Haeckel

Humans are much less subject to evolutionary pressures at the individual level. Those forces now apply at the level of society. (Image: public domain.)

Remember that those with the most children are the most successful. Like it or not, there are no other rules. Making more money and having a higher standard of living do not count unless you deploy that money and standard of living in the service of having, and successfully raising, more children. Mother Nature does just one thing. She counts heads.

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