It never made sense to me. When I walked through rainforests or spent time at the seashore in rock pools, there was never a sense of survival of the fittest. Yes, I’m sure there things being preyed upon but that was not the overall sense of what I felt. It was a much more integrated, interrelated peaceful feeling. The more I have read and researched the more it supports the view that survival of the fittest and competition is not the order of the day in nature. In a totally interrelated world, there is much more collaboration and symbiotic relationships.
A friend said recently that in Darwin’s time ‘fittest’ meant ‘ a fit for the surrounding environment’, not what we mean by fittest. Darwin meant how well the organism ‘fits’ into the environment will decide how successful the organism is. In this ‘fitting in’ it seems collaboration is much more popular way to go than competition.
Reading about a recent 3 year voyage by scientists in a ship called the Tara Oceans, 150,000 species of plankton were discovered (only 15,000 known to science). Eric Karsenti of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, said the planktonic ecosystem is dominated by ‘Positive Interactions’, he says “ It seems that competition is less important than collaboration in structuring the ecosystems. So we find a lot of organisms that need to live together in order for the system to function . . . It is not only the survival of the fittest but also how everybody collaborates with everyone else that makes life evolve and become more complex.”
For me, I would feel that in the midst of 150,000 species you would expect survival of the fittest to be the main mode of operation and I was nicely surprised that this was not the case.
In 21 days I drive to Italy from Ireland in a saloon car with my wife and my two dogs to live over winter there. It is a testimony to strong collaboration that I am making this trip at all. I have spent a lot of my life trying to do things alone by willpower in a lot of cases. Since I changed my view towards a more supportive, collaborative way of being, I have achieved a lot more with a lot more ease. In a lot of cases it has meant being vulnerable and explicitly asking for help. Once I have got over the initial resistance going on in my head, I found people were delighted to help in whatever way they could. It seems through collaboration, the feeling I had in the rainforest and on the rock shore was true, with collaboration, everyone wins, and it feels good.