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Is natural selection evolving as fast as we are?

Cremisi's picture

 It's interesting how we have the ability to think of ourselves in the world. No longer do we need to worry about our survival on a primal level. Our food is pretty much provided for, and many people have good shelter from the harsh environment. Because these needs are mostly all met, we have the time to sit and observe, to think about the past and future, to ponder the matters at hand,  to stew over daily decisions, and to plumb ideas of our existence. 


Darwin's idea of natural selection, that . some trait in the organism has randomly been acquired at birth (well, at conception, really) due to random chance expresses itself in an organism.  During the battlefield of life, if this trait (trait X) gives the said organism any advantage over other organism, the organism with trait X comes out the victor. 

When applied to humans, it's amusing to think of hairy hominids in leopard print tatters sitting around a campfire, gazing into the stars, and asking the large question : why are we here? The hominids may have thought about situations like that--perhaps they wondered what life would be like far into the future, but they probably just thought about what their next meal would be. I know the feeling--when i'm ravenous, homework seems of very little consequence. But now, when we have the bare essentials provided for us, we move on and do other things. We make fancy suits with pinstripes, purchase Italian soap, go to art galleries and buy very expensive canvases with binder resins of different solvents and hues splattered across its front. We tell tales, and relish the stories of others in cinemas, we create beautiful architecture and make silly reality shows. We love the life we have created for ourselves. Has even Darwin's own natural selection definition evolved with time as much as we have? Though people can be "born with a silver spoon in his/her mouth" it's obviously not a genetic trait. However...  I feel entirely confident that in this reality and society we have constructed for ourselves, monetary stability or advantage plays a large role in the selections of mates. it is a "trait" like Darwin says, that gives some people advantage over others.

And on the flipside.. humans look over flaws in others--stubby fingers, squinty eyes, skin problems, intelligence, ...and sometimes we trade them for other benefits--kindness, richness, family tradition. 

Humans seem to have created their own living world of evolution. We are conscious of ourselves, and have created this world for ourselves. Animals make complex ecosystems where  each animal has its own niche to fill...Is that really so different from humans? Perhaps the worker ants are not so much different from accountants for the IRS, or a gazelle munching on grass is like a writer selling a book to inspire others. It's easy to say that all animals have a purpose. Namely, to help out and to thrive in their ecosystem..but, strangely, it's easy to sit and wonder "what is my purpose? Why am I alive? All I do is eat, sleep, reproduce, etc." Perhaps we need to find the niche in our ecosystem we have created for ourselves--like being a writer to entertain and inspire, a scientist to understand and seek knowledge about the life we know so little about, or be a doctor and help the organisms continue functioning and living. 




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