Rushkoff reminds us: we can't blame evolution for our relentlessly competitive society. It does cooperation too.
Nature is a collaborative act. If humans are the most evolved species, it is only because we have developed the most advanced ways of working and playing together.
We’ve been conditioned to believe in the myth that evolution is about competition: the survival of the fittest. In this view, each creature struggles against all the others for scarce resources. Only the strongest ones survive to pass on their superior genes, while the weak deserve to lose and die out.
But evolution is every bit as much about cooperation as competition. Our very cells are the result of an alliance billions of years ago between mitochondria and their hosts. Individuals and species flourish by evolving ways of supporting mutual survival.
A bird develops a beak which lets it feed on some part of a plant that other birds can’t reach. This introduces diversity into the population’s diet, reducing the strain on a particular food supply, and leading to more for all. What of the poor plant, you ask? The birds, much like bees, are helping the plant by spreading its seeds after eating its fruit.
Survival of the fittest is a convenient way to justify the cut-throat ethos of a competitive marketplace, political landscape, and culture. But this perspective misconstrues the theories of Darwin as well as his successors. By viewing evolution through a strictly competitive lens, we miss the bigger story of our own social development and have trouble understanding humanity as one big, interconnected team.