Society has been humanity’s great saviour. It has enabled us to survive as a species. By communal living we have been able to overcome the environmental forces that would have put such a strain on our continued existence.
Society has undoubtedly saved us from the tyranny of Nature.
Yet, we need to be wary, for there is a significant and often unrealised downside to our societal existence. Essentially, this negative effect impacts in two ways:
Firstly, we should recognise that society is of humanity’s design and construction, a man-made artefact that has become our “Living Environment”. As a consequence it has taken over from nature as the under-lying force and guide for genetic change.
Society is made to our design, for our choice of purpose. It’s down to us as to what it looks like, what it does and how it operates. And this is the problem. As a man-made device it can be weak and ineffectual, used and abused. It can be structured to achieve misguided, mistaken goals; it can function with prejudice and irrationality; it can be governed to favour certain interests.
We have created for ourselves a new “Living Environment”. This is the world that will now be guiding our development, shaping our very evolution.
Those genes that are most attractive are no longer those that fared well in Nature but are those that thrive in society. The qualities we needed to survive in Nature are being supplanted by those that we need in society.
It means that our evolution is no longer so much governed by Nature but by ourselves. We are becoming objects of our own making. We make society; society makes us – our attitudes, our behaviour, even, given time, our physicality.
We are, in fact, feeding off our own architectural creation. As such, it’s narcissistic and dangerous.
Our survival as a species hinges on our ability to adapt to our environment. Yet, humanity has created for itself a new “Living Environment”, that of society and it is this that we now look to in terms of our genetic development.
The expression, “they will reap what they sow” comes to mind. And, it has to be said, we really do not know what we are doing, having never travelled this way before.
That is not the only problem around society’s development. There is a second issue that is equally concerning. As society has progressed, as we have become increasingly integrated into societal living we have also become increasingly diverted from our genetic purpose. In many ways we have or are losing our Genetic Priority.
Society has given us the freedom to have more control over our personal lives. Consequently, we now believe we should be more able to live as we choose to live rather than as Nature requires. And so, for many of us, we are drawn towards the appeal of personal fulfilment.
We want to get more out of life, more for ourselves. We want job satisfaction, we want fancy holidays, we want sexual satisfaction, we want to live in well-furnished houses, we want to eat and drink pleasurable foods, we want to make full use of the gains we are making in our development.
As such, doing our best for our genes becomes secondary. We lose our Genetic Priority, the very purpose of our being. In so doing, we may well weaken our genetic strength, the very essence of what brought us to where we are today.
Societal living has and will continue to impact on our existence as a species. There are genetic consequences for the way we choose to live our lives. We need to be fully aware of this and recognise it as potentially a real danger to our continued survival as a species.
“Humanity’s Drive” is the third volume in a series on our relationship with our genes. All three volumes are available to buy on-line through Amazon.