SURVIVING IN A COMPETITIVE WORLD: SURVIVALS OF THE FIT AND CO-EXISTENCE
Darwin was perhaps bit too over enthusiastic proclaiming the term ‘Survival of the Fittest’; while as actual scientific observation should moderate the term to “Survivals of the Fit”. Probably Darwin, being one among the human species, was even a bit ‘Intolerant’ coining the term fittest, actually suggesting human beings to be the fittest to ultimately take control of Planet Earth? Ha,ha,ha….in purely Indian context, we are now again vexed by the term “Intolerance”!
Actually in spite of firing so many sophisticated cannons, even with nuclear arsenal, as per popular Bengali proverb, men kind just could not even wipe out the blood sucking mosquitoes! Along with men, mosquitoes are having a field day in Planet Earth. So, this world is actually inhabited by many ‘fit’ rather than the ‘fittest’. We have now reconciled to using mosquito repellants, which are usually effective but I am always perturbed at the possibility of any side effect it may cause to human beings. Any idea?
So, the world is essentially pluralistic, apparently chaotic, with many ‘fit’ showing their mettle, but everything is naturally in perfect equilibrium with its surroundings, for the time being at least.
But Darwin was absolutely right in proclaiming the idea of ‘competitive’ evolution. Nature, however pristine it may appear, is a genuinely competitive phenomenon. Survival is a reality, everyone needs to try hard, and hence competition is very much real. If one reacts lazily to a fiercely competitive neighbor in Nature, he is bound to get decimated eventually.
In human society, this theory should apply to ideas too. There are competitive ideas struggling against each other. We are aware about fiercely competing ideas in economics; in high energy physics around the Black Hole and beyond there are several competing ideas trying to gain ground these days; politics ofcourse is a very competitive idea so on and so forth. Naturally religion, essentially being a grand human idea is also on the floors of competition; in fact as per history it always was. World War II was in fact one such ugly competition, a ‘race’ to win! Well, it is just an expansion of Darwin’s theory really! Nature however, by adhering to the idea of ‘Survivals of Fit’ is not really a tolerant phenomenon to the weak ones. No one really can afford to be meek and weak.
I really do not know how the civilized world should react to this observation of competing religions. In fact I would like to deliberate on the idea of ‘civilized world’ a little bit more in due course.
Interestingly, I started conceiving this essay, while working on my pet butterfly project! As like other days, I was observing the several nuances of Nature around me with some keen interest. It was wonderful to watch co-existence even in such competitive environment in Nature. Most of the times ‘competition’ has been turned into a mutual understanding! By now, the photographs might appear a bit suggestive to you!
Interestingly co-existence is the ‘rule of the jungle’ that we civilized world despise in no uncertain terms! In reality, we are comfortable with well segregated and designed gardens, well laid lawns with special single variety of grass, eliminating all scope for competition of any kind by weeding out our garden and then by applying pesticides. The whole idea of civilized world is like that. Like our gardens our thoughts are well designed, well structured, perfectly arranged, and suitably sprayed by pesticides to ward off unwanted elements! By doing so, we are generally averse to competition, and I would say fairly intolerant in confronting conflicting ideas. In short, like the ‘rule of the jungle’, co-existence is not the key word in the civilized world- we prefer to remain within ourselves in our home and on our study table, rather than to be in the open to cherish freedom. But the ‘rule of the jungle’ keeps one incessantly out in the open. At this juncture I feel extremely tempted to recall our school days at Patha Bhavana- what bliss, always out in the open! Was Patha Bhavana actually an extension of the rule of the jungle? Ha,ha…but sometimes I am really at awe at the vision of Rabindranath Tagore and really wonder if all schoolings should be conducted in the open.
Again, I really do not know how to interpret Darwin, with respect to the civilized world! Furthermore ‘Survival of the Fittest’ appears to me a very biased statement, suggesting someone has to be the fittest!
In Physics, which I studied up to graduation, Duality or even Plurality remains a stable concept. We could apply a lot of mathematical reasoning to Duality or Plurality. Even Chaos is now a real mathematical field to study. Interestingly Singularity, one example being the Black Holes, remains indefinable in Science. In human society, it is absolutely confusing for human beings to ascertain the unique Singularity of God as a natural consequence! But then one can always argue that God is actually a subjective concept and not an object in itself, and expand the argument to form all sorts of ideas. After all Rabindranath himself was a great admirer of a Singularity – the Param Bramha-literally an unfathomable idea in itself by definition!
Beyond Darwin, I am perfectly at awe at Sun, the principal energy supplier in real (and not subjective) terms to Planet Earth. Sun remains perfectly equitable, without any bias, always gracious enough to maintain its duality with Earth, and plurality with other planets, with unfailing regularity, at least in conceivable time frame. Sun is never colour blind allowing everyone to co-exist according to one’s just ability. I again feel extremely tempted to recall our school days at Patha Bhavana- we really had a very good feel of the Sun!
There is obviously much beyond our ideas and a huge lot more beyond if our ideas are structured. More than demarcating ideas with our judgmental verdicts, we need incessant probe to comprehend the essence of survival in a practically continuous and incessantly competitive environment and cherish the full flavour of co-existence.
In any case, it is really revealing to work with Nature, as it is basically a co-existent concept. Furthermore Nature can never be fooled by any means, whether subjective or objective! I think the term ‘Survival of the Fittest’, essentially a Singular concept and a rather ambitious statement, should be modified into ‘Co-Existence of the Fit’- the dual and plural idea, with a rider that meek and weak are not tolerated.