Tuesday 31 March 2009

A Darwinian Crunch?

I don't suppose this is an original insight (if insight it be), but I wonder
if - accepting, for the sake of argument, the Darwinian paradigm - the
current credit crunch-recession-depression fiasco wer'e living through, or
are about to, illustrates the fact (proposition rather) that not only can
human kind not bear very much reality, it cannot cope with much success, or
excess, or even achieving the ends of its various compelling drives. Could
it be that, programmed by scarcity and endless struggle and strife, we have
yet to learn how to cope, what to do, when we achieve a degree of security
and abundance and comfort - and that when we find ourselves living amid the kind of superabundance and unheard-of security and comfort that the 'developed world' (a Darwinian notion in itself) has achieved, the likelihood is that we'll go completely off the rails, the very drives and imperatives that got us there now herding us over the cliff, like so many Gadarene swine, and down to perdition? 'Adaptive' becomes destructive. Is this a factor at least in the cyclical collapses and depressions that seem to plague all advanced economies - that we simply don't know when or where to stop, that we have to keep pressing on until we hit the jagged rocks and are sunk and done for? I guess if I fully believed in the Darwinian paradigm, I might ask if and when human kind might adapt to cope with success and not turn it into catastrophe
- though surely the time scales involved in such calculations are too short for evolutionary processes to be involved. We might be wiser, I suspect, to turn away from Darwinism and consult wisdoms more ancient, yet more far-seeing, if we wish to be saved from ourselves - those wisdoms that tell us to rein ourselves in, to examine our hearts and souls, to stop and think and look around us, and consider what we are. If it's not too late.
Meanwhile, there's the racist argument. According to the South Americans, it was us blue-eyed gringos who got the world into this mess; and Sarko blames everything on the 'Anglo-Saxons' and is muttering about walking out on the London G20whateveritis jamboree. Zut alors!


  1. ..or perhaps the cycle of human boom and bust is a modern abstract pantomime - an organic, atavistic representation of population control as still practiced by our lemming friends?

  2. Well, that's the Frogs for you.

    People get fixated on the Adaptation element of Darwinism, but of course the greater part of it is Extinction. There's something for you to chew cheerily on this Tuesday morning.

  3. Darwinism is good at telling us how we got to be the way we are, but it can't tell us how to deal with that. (Imho, the basic mistake of the agnostic bus brigade stuff is in thinking Darwinism can.) So we're always caught in the middle, driven by instinct to line up the next water hole before the present one runs dry. This makes it hard for us fully to enjoy what we have. Cue ghastly-grim remarks from Darwinists about contemplating the "wonder" of the world whereas other, older ways of looking at the world do this far better.

    Throw modern marketing into the mix, surely one of the most far-reaching inventions of all time ... Must go, just seen a tempting advert for a sale ...