Group Selection

“Sure, I could get up at dawn, go to a job I hate that does not inspire me creatively whatsoever, or I could get up at noon and learn how to play the sitar” Bill Hicks

Survival of the fittest is such a bleak vision
Are we really just a freakish collision of selfish genes
Selfishly promoting their own individual interests?
Well, maybe, but sometimes those interests are collective
Still, “survival of the fittest” is a phrase easily twisted
By anybody out to justify the meager existence
That some people live with; it’s a phrase often enlisted
By parasites eager to benefit from these differences
In the nineteenth century it was aristocratic eugenicists
In the twentieth century, genocidal menaces
Used “survival of the fittest” to justify their death sentences
And gangsters still use it today to degrade their victims
Not to mention the purveyors of disaster capitalism
These are all examples of “Social Darwinism”
But none of this is based on scientific evidence
Merely showing that something exists in a state of nature
Doesn’t give it a moral basis; that’s a false correlation
Competition can sometimes increase motivation
But evolution is also driven by cooperation
Just ask the dictyostelium nation
Bacteria combined into eukaryotic cells
And became the organelles within their symbiotic shells
And we have fifty trillion of those in our individual selves
So we’re like physical spaces where creative collectives dwell
And this applies to the societies we erect as well
‘Cause survival of the fittest also applies to groups
And the fittest group makes the best combined moves
So, can’t we all just get along, whatever we try and do?

Where’s the altruism? Where’s the love? Where’s the altruism?
All these vultures talkin’ ‘bout survival of the fittest
But the atruism y’all, come on, where’s the altruism?
We need to get together on a common vision!

Group selection just puts me in an altruistic mood
Like: Yeah, love thy neighbour! What’s that?
You need some sugar? Okay, come by later!
Of course I’ll do you favour; why’s that?
‘Cause I’ve got the compassion of a vampire bat
If you need some food, I’ll do what I can
So what if we’re not related; you’re still my man
You’re still my sister; I feel high, man!
This universal love is good stuff, god damn!
And you don’t have to reciprocate either
Because karma is a sophisticated teacher
Karma isn’t just energy waves in the ether!
No, karma’s in the way everyone hates a cheater
Cheater detection will keep you in check when
You jump cues and refuse to treat people respectfully
So go ahead, take what you want, run me down
‘Cause I believe what goes around comes around
Liars and thieves and those who try to deceive
Get dealt with by the immune systems of society
And survival of the fittest? Don’t let it baffle you
Because fitness isn’t “fitness”, no, it’s aptitude
Between the environment and whatever’s adapted to it
And in social animals like humans, aptitude is attitude
And my attitude is there’s nothing we can’t do
As a human family group, as long as we have rules
To keep the cheaters in check; I figure we can’t lose
We can go to the moon and back this afternoon
As long as what’s bad for me is also bad for you
So let’s just all get together and have some food
And put an end to this endless feud – is that cool?

Where’s the altruism? Where’s the love? Where’s the altruism?
All these vultures talkin’ ‘bout survival of the fittest
But the atruism y’all, come on, where’s the altruism?
We need to get together on a common vision!

“And if we evolve the idea, you see, the planet might be more compassionate, and something like heaven might dawn” Bill Hicks

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