I’m sitting at a beach on the Yucatan’s Riviera Maya looking at the extraordinary scenery and drinking my morning coffee. I just walked 10 feet from my kitchen to a reclining beach chair under a thatched hut to read Dr. Edmund Wilson’s new book, The Superorganism. I’ve saved it up for such a special time.
Dr. Wilson is one of the world’s best-known evolutionary biologists. He created quite a stir in 1975 with his book Sociobiology in which he said human behavior and achievement are genetically determined. It upset people to be told that the entire human experience is preordained.
In The Superorganism, he expands his view about how genetics and natural selection operate. The book is based on his study of ants, which are his first love; he tells us that our behavior and survival is not just based on the survival of the fittest. Natural selection operates at many levels, including at the level of the entire group. Wilson says that what benefits the group may be more important than what happens at the individual level. Among ants, survival favors those who sacrifice themselves for the benefit of the group.
I love this concept that our evolutionary foundation is based on how we relate to each other. We are not just a species dedicated to self-preservation, but we are also programmed for altruism and generosity.
When I get up to get a coffee refill, I notice a line of ants parading to and from my cookie crumbs on the counter. I raise my cup to the marching ants and say, “Thank you for reminding me that as people and a planet, our survival is based on our willingness to make sacrifices for each other.”
P.S. There are only 4 weeks left until “The Last Mask of the Authentic Healer” workshop in Phoenix, Mar. 27-29, 2009, don’t miss it. Go to www.healingdoc.com for more info.