OPINION

Don't deny your humanity

Posted 5/20/20

To the Editor, Why you are already a socialist. You can't help, it. You are a system of connected and interacting living things that produce what we think of as individuals. That is a cultural artifact, not a truth. We exist because of a vast

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OPINION

Don't deny your humanity

Posted

To the Editor,

Why you are already a socialist.

You can't help, it. You are a system of connected and interacting living things that produce what we think of as individuals.

That is a cultural artifact, not a truth. We exist because of a vast collaboration, viruses, bacteria and human cells that co-exist and cooperate to sustain each of us. Half the cells in our bodies are not human, but bacterial. And without the collaboration of those many different kinds of bacteria, we would cease to live. It is not a competition, but a joint venture. That system extends beyond ourselves, where evolution or a creator, imbued us with a special nervous systems, found only in mammals, most developed in social animals (humans, whales, elephants..). All have a specialize part of the brain and even more special cells there, that cause us to feel what others feel. In small social groups, that system acts to restrain our most critical urges. But in the faceless world of virtual communication, that system is not as active, bypassing our empathy circuit, for which we are all hardwired.

Lastly, look to nature, for how in the great forests, the tall trees are connected by a vast underground network of collaborative organisms, send food and support to the young and the weak, even among differing species of trees. The tall and strong trees sustain those less capable. Nature is by design, socialist. Don't deny your humanity for ideology.

 

Sean Hagberg, PhD

Cranston, RI

Comments

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Wuggly

Socialist? No. Every thing in contributes, yes in a very symbiotic relationship. Every thing in nature also takes what it can. The big fish eats the smaller fish the predator preys on the weak making the herd stronger. Even in the pack and the pride the weak will be left behind. Nature's basic law is survival of the fittest. In social structures in nature even punishment is handed out for misbehaving. Sometimes its as simple as a good thrashing by the pride, pack or herd leader. Other times it's banishment which can mean death. This includes your elephants. Once the male is old enough the apron strings are cut and he will be sent away. Nature is beautiful in its design and majesty yet don't overlook the life and death struggle.

Keep in mind nature gave us the Wuhan Virus, Zika, Ebola, Cancer, mosquitoes (arguably the most deadly animal on the planet) and a host of other micro and macro organisms humans don't do well against.

Friday, May 22
shagberg

I appreciate the comment. I was also taught the survival of the fittest mantra which so resonates with the notions of 'rugged individualism,' that, in turn, echo religious philosophies present in early America. I think most folk would read your comments and agree with you. But as we learned more about the interconnected complexity of nature, the data showed many assumptions, built on that notion of 'fitness' were fundamentally flawed. Turns out the most highly adapted animals or plants, "the fittest" are actually unlikely to survive significant environmental changes (its the ones who are less 'fit' for the current environment are more capable of adaptation). And certainly the vast, collaborative networks of plants and fungi, where sharing resources, even between species, was never envisioned. The fact that we have a specialized lobe of our brain and parallel peripheral nervous system built for touch, social connectedness and empathy suggests that it was important for groups of people to have interconnect awareness. Individual examples do not negate the fact of that system and certainly don't explain it. Lastly, the fact that the human body is completely dependent on a non-human network of bacteria and other collaborations in order to maintain life undermines the glorious illusion of rugged individualism.

Wednesday, May 27
Wuggly

@-shagberg- I believe we agree on most of what each other has stated. It comes down to is it socialism or just symbiotic? You would appear to argue for the first where my thoughts are on the second.

Tuesday, June 2