Who Really Wins ? Dominant vs. "Weak"
by B.J. Delas Armas
on 5/14/2004 09:57:00 AM
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If you're weak and you survive, you'll get yours. Don't worry, be happy.
This is based off that "Who Would You Rather be? James A Naismith (inventor of basketball) or Michael Jordan (basketball great)" post
that I had. It was about choosing to be an innovator of something or the best at something. The innovator represents the "weak" whilst the best at something represents the dominant because really now, they are the best at something, so don't argue with that stupidass.
In the bigger broader picture, the innovator through many generations of evolution makes the lasting changes that transcends any greatness at something. So, applied to James Naismith and Michael Jordan; James Naismith invented basketball and he will always be known as that, but Michael Jordan will not always be known as the best (sad to say since I'm the biggest Bulls fan you'll ever meet). So James Naismith, innovator, in the bigger picture has made the bigger contribution to human existence.
When you're the best in society, you're usually going to keep the status quo. You'll usually be some jackass who keeps your multi-jillion dollar corporation running not really keeping an eye to improve society or do something breakthrough. You'll just live your life and be somewhat of a waste to human existence in terms of evolving anything cool doing nothing more than eating pizza and bon bons on Saturday nights, but it's OK. Whatever.
Usually, when you're not the best in society, you can go in one of three ways: accept the status quo, flop, or resist against the status quo.
Resisting against the status quo usually means that you've found away around whatever is dominant. Naismith's status quo as a YMCA instructor was to accept that he did not have a sport of skill (skill being a keyword as opposed to some stupid-ass weightlifting or what have you) for his students to play indoors during the winter. Obviously he didn't flop or else there would be no basketball. So his last option was to resist the status quo: create the damn game of basketball, obviously.
So basically, I just said that the objects of change are probably going to be better fit for evolution. Yeah, it's all about change in evolution. That makes sense.
But all I have discussed thus far is resistance at a superficial level.
There's two points that makes the weak survivors a.k.a. the innovators better fit for survival throughout this course of constant evolution: one, they resist. Two, they are versatile. Those that overdominate will probably need too many tools to survive.
Imagine resistance built up by the weak against the dominant over generations. Resistance by the weak is probably what has helped us evolve into what we are. Remember that if you can survive ala the corporation fat cat, you'll probably stay right where you are.
So let's apply that principle of resistance by the weak to the dominant through innovation to human evolution.
So let's say you're the weakest macaque in a troop and you never get food. What the hell do you do ? Fold up and die. Err, not really. Find another way, captain obvious. You find your food around those dominants.
For example, macaques in Sri Lanka have been known to steal actual processed food from villagers. Macaques are old world monkeys. They come from forests and have only been recently coming to human villages because their homes in the forest have been demolished by deforestation or some other ecology-destroying human activity. As far as we know, macaques don't bake or cook shit, but the key is they find their way to get food. They walk on barbed wire that surrounds the village. They get into people's houses. They steal anything they sense is edible from fruits to cakes (as in the one that you bake). Eventually this way of finding food will give these much more distinct traits than their dominant cousins still powerhousing their way in the forest. These distinct traits will have evolved from them specializing in something. These traits will proably eventually help them kick their dominant cousins' asses one day in surviving (maybe literally too, but that's not a given).
An example of distinct traits a genus has developed to potentially kick their once dominant cousins' asses within the same genus in surviving can be seen in humans from chimps. We don't walk on our knuckles for some reason (like maybe as shade from the sun). And we can definitely kick chimps butts if we wanted to. They will get owned. And why'd they start walking, probably to travel long distances. Why travel long distances ? To get food because there was a scarcity and with a scarcity, there's some kind of "weakness" somewhere.
Despite developing distinct traits, "weak" animals manage to stay versatile in the environment. That is, they don't overly gourge on themselves.
There's also such a thing as overdominance. I think a species can develop out of getting too big and eventually killing themselves off. For example, 500-lb gorillas. They are going extinct. Whatever.
Whatever class of animals ascends to being the most dominant (and currently it's humans, FYI) will theoretically, eventually stomp on their ancestors to survive. We evolved from other animals and yet we kill them (we also kill our own.) I find it amazing how we have to respect everything from humans to animals we kill now. But later when we probably won't care.
So the lesson of this story is that if you're weak and you find a way to survive, you'll get yours (at least your ancestors will).
Labels: Human Condition, Human Evolution