5.2 By What Secondary Rules Can Man Aid Competitive Group Evolution?


The area of international dealings is one beset by certain standard misperceptions largely springing from the real discrepancy of inter-individual and inter-group behavior laws. Whole classes and generations of men are shielded by their governments, state departments and foreign offices from the stern realities of an international game in which no mistakes are forgiven. They are shielded as effectively as stall-fed domesticated animals are shielded from the worries of the farmer. A natural consequence of a sheltered population thus believing that inter-individual ethics exist among groups is that the practising statesman is accused of cynicism.

In Europe he has been accused over centuries of paying lip-service to Christian principles while failing to support these values in "practice." In America a great deal is made of the disinterested benevolence which America shows in giving "foreign aid" to "underprivileged" countries. Admittedly it is decidedly more than most countries sacrifice for this purpose, but it turns out to be less than one percent of the gross national product and it is skillfully directed to making cultural alliances likely to be useful in any future struggle for survival[4]. If there is any hypocricy in this it is not in the mind of the realist statesman, who unashamedly dubs it welfare imperialism. The hypocricy is fostered by the requirement of the man in the street that his within-group values not be jolted in crossing frontiers, and that his image of himself as doing all for Christian charity not be upset. However, many a politician seems not to be much clearer than the man in the street on the different principles involved: he simply acts more realistically, and has not been as conscientious as he should in discovering the true ethical bases for inter-group action.

Nevertheless, it may be that secondary restrictive rules on international, and inter-religious community competition are required by evolutionary morality. Although the full character of these requirements will not be discussable until we have surveyed in this chapter the actual nature of the present competitive acts among groups, some of the broader modifying principles can be introduced here and now in this section.

The aim of Beyondism is to ensure that natural selection operates clearly and effectively among groups, but since this is in the service of a further goal human progress certain boundary conditions seem required:

(1) That struggle shall not reach an end point of domination by a single power, creating a world cultural or racial monopoly, thus interrupting variation and selection.

(2) That in a period when legalistic international dealings have been explicitly accepted, one group does not annihilate another by the sudden pounce of war. There are too many accidental circumstances in war to make it desirable to rest the decision of survival of a group on one war.

(3) That all groups do not totally and simultaneously destroy one another. This is put in for logical completeness, but except in science fiction and those laboring under a nuclear nightmare, it is to be viewed, realistically, as an extremely remote chance.

(4) That, at the opposite extreme of competitive activity, groups do not abandon competition, and coalesce into a single homogeneous stagnant mass.

(5) That parasitic relations are not set up such that either of the parties becomes unable to survive should it be set on its own.

(6) That and here we turn to the more ideal construction needed for the future a comity of nations sets up a federated research organization to keep records and exchange analyses in order that readjustments in faulty directions of progress may be made from early comparative, competitive performance.
It will be noted that these conditions do not include the unmitigated imposition of rules by a totalitarian, supra-national power and police force, such as a government provides among individuals. There is a great temptation, into which some progressives have fallen, to suggest instituting formal "rules of a game" to take the rigor out of inter-group competition. Proviso (a) above comes very close to this, justifying some debate on the issue. It is primarily in regard to outlawing war that the issue arises, though on closer scrutiny one might also find certain other forms of competition, e.g., severe economic strife, and, particularly, the propagandist deceptions of psychological warfare, equally repellent.

The problem is surely that any fractional restriction of the possible range of competitive behavior makes selection, by that fraction, less comprehensive and sound. Boxing gloves and the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, for example, make differences in intelligence between the combatants less important than if all means of combat were left open, and, similarly, the rules of chess make the physical fitness of the contestants almost irrelevant. If the competition among groups is to be effectively on a par with, and integrated with, the purpose of competition against nature, one must look on restrictive rules, even though hugely desirable from other "humanistic" standpoints, with suspicion. Nature pulls no punches, and since communities are in training for the battle with nature, direct group competition could be a poor training if made too artificial. Thus condition (2), above, indeed, needs to be critically examined in further research.

Realistically, there is something to be said in this area even for not eliminating fear of sudden attack. The biological innovation which produced a shift from the reptilian to the Pantotheres mammalian order in the late Mesozoic age demanded substantial increase in the physiological complication (notably in the birth of young). This was a costly and precarious innovation but among the circumstances that made it worthwhile was the fact that the warm blooded mammal could both make and avoid "the sudden pounce" far more quickly than the reptile drugged by cold weather. Is it not then part of the test of the evolutionary advancement of a nation that it can organize better to survive the sudden unheralded military attack? Probably "yes." But, it will become increasingly apparent that an important task of a federation of nations is to reduce the element of fatal chance in evolutionary evaluation, and one potent way of doing that is to extend the time over which tests are made. As war possesses ever more powerful weapons, the chances of decision by a single event increase. The premature or single event judgment can occur in other fields too: the first small mammals just discussed could have fallen victims to some chance parasite, and perhaps Cromagnon man (a noble creature by archaeological records, as Graham (1970) points out) was wiped out by a germ to which he happened not to be able to develop immunity quickly enough. The story of evolution is full of tragedies and absurdities mostly set right later, however. One great gain of man perceiving and embracing its purpose lies in his becoming an intelligent mid-wife to its creations. He needs to find out how by demanding the right rules, he can best aid in the natural selection of groups.















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