- The study of evolution as science is often focused on one side of evolution, the individual evolution which means how individual animals, including humans, under the contingency and randomness of their environment adapt or fail to survive.
The side of evolution that is often overlooked is the collective evolution, which means how species as a group cooperate to face collectively contingencies and randomness in their environment.
The lessons learned so far from both evolutions is that individuals which optimize their chance of survival selfishly are more likely to survive and eventually thrive. The keyword here is selfishly. As individual, you better be selfish to optimize your chance of survival. Reason why selfish people are more successful.
However species which cooperate more intensively to face as a group contingencies and randomness have higher chance of survival for their individual members and thrive over much longer period. As individual you better live in a cooperative species, because you chance of survival is higher and your offspring have much higher survival chance.
In plain words, if you are selfish you are more like to succeed as individual, however your species or tribe won’t thrive if all of its members are like you. Your species will be weaker and be prey to species or tribes which are more cooperative or more benevolent. Your success might be limited to only you or one generation, while success in cooperative species goes beyond self and generations.
Such discoveries are scientific conclusions from studying thousands of species.
Why am I writing this?
Modern Western societies are based on liberal values which put the individual and its freedom at the center. Individual freedom is paragon and protected. Success is heroic and bear a name deserving a statue in downtown. Cooperation as group is facilitated only by self interest, and the main incentive for cooperation is money. Without money, no cooperation. With money no cooperation either. Such a species is highly vulnerable.
Modern Asians societies still tend to be very much focused on cooperation for survival while acknowledging only individual character value as far as it contributes to the community welfare. Individual freedom is very much limited. Incentive for cooperation is community pride and acceptance. Without group validation the individual is nothing. Individual thrive only with group validation.
Evolution laws observed that cooperative species grow very big in number compared to selfish species.
As illustration, in the Valeriepieris circle, a 4000km radius circle centered in the South China Sea lives more than half the world’s population. The center of the world is there.
While cooperative species and tribes grow, individualistic specifies reproduce less and in the long term could be endangered.
Cooperation based on monetary incentive is the cornerstone of modern western societies. Unfortunately, When the incentive for cooperation is external, external factors easily control members behaviors therefore lending the whole society to scalable vulnerabilities.
Cooperation based on ingrained belief in a common destiny which is dependent on each individual members sacrifice or responsibility tend to outperform all other incentives.
We have so much to draw from the science of evolution to change the fate of our communities and the world.