On The Money
Financial Advice for the Working Class
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?
Of course we all know that capitalism only works because the coercive nature of capital, and that it only survives by destroying and enslaving everything in its path, but do you ever wonder why communism never works either?
Humans have a peculiar survival adaptation. We don’t survive in the world for very long as individuals. Instead, we rely on a cohesive group, with an inherited culture to survive. This is not unique in the animal world. Many creatures, from honeybees to prairie dogs share this trait. Like honeybees and prairie dogs themselves, honeybee and prairie dog culture, or group behavior, has evolved over millions of years, shaped by the physical needs and abilities of the creatures themselves, and the challenges of their environment. The fact that we see honeybees and prairie dogs alive today, testify to the time-tested success of honeybee and prairie dog culture.
So it goes with humans. We rely on our culture for survival at least as much as we rely on our large brains or dextrous fingers. Without a cohesive group, and an inherited culture, you have no humans, and that inherited culture makes humans possible. Much as we pride ourselves as “bold individualists” we’re much more like honeybees and prairie dogs in this regard, than say, tapeworms or mountain lions.
As human beings evolved and spread around the world, human culture evolved and adapted to the new environments in which they found themselves. This lead to the tremendous diversity of indigenous human cultures, and explain why the Inuit people, of the arctic north live very differently from !Kung Bushmen of the African Kalahari desert. This tremendous diversity of cultures has allowed humans to spread all over the world and adapt to nearly every ecosystem on the planet.
One characteristic of human beings, that we do not share with honeybees or prairie dogs, has driven all of this cultural diversity. That is, the fact that human beings really don’t get along with each other very well. While many thousands of honeybees share a hive, and many hundreds of prairie dogs share a colony, you generally (not always, but generally) find indigenous humans in groups of 15-40, with occasional large gatherings of several groups. When groups get larger than this, disagreements and fights become more common, leading groups to split up.
These separated groups tend to keep their distance. So, the newly split off group has an inherited culture, but will find a new territory, not that far away generally, and will adapt to the subtle differences of this new environment. In this way, our inability to get along with each other, fuels cultural diversity.
At the same time, as human children grow up, they tend to fall in love with people from other groups, because they get kind of sick of the people in their own group. Thus, humans produced a strong gene-pool of bright, healthy, disagreeable people, rich with cultural diversity, and continued to spread out and inhabit the world.
Yes, our natural tendency to be stubborn, petty, and to not speak to each other has made human beings successful as a species. Far from being a character flaw, our inability to get along with each other has been our saving grace.
While we need to get along with each other well enough to form the groups we need to survive, not getting along with each other has served us equally well, by keeping us strong, and teaching us to survive, and thrive, under all kinds of conditions. It testifies to the genius of evolution, that we have evolved to get along with each other just well enough, but not too well, and that this delicate balance has produced the thousands of distinct indigenous human cultures around the world.
As “civilized” humans, we don’t really value that rich cultural heritage. We should! We have an astounding indigenous heritage that we should be proud of, and fascinated with. In fact, we mostly seek to obliterate it, in favor of a mass culture of mass production, mass media, educational standards and a “standard of living”.
We “civilized people” either believe that everything beautiful, useful and good on the planet should be happily sacrificed for the completely unsustainable, hegemonic homogeneity of the “global economy”, or we believe that the only way to stop the completely unsustainable, hegemonic homogeneity of the “global economy” is with an equally hegemonic and homogeneous “global movement”. So, we “civilized people” are always asking this same silly question: Why can’t we all just get along?
The truth is, not getting along with each other made us who we are. Not getting along with each other made us successful as a species, and not getting along with each other makes us strong. That’s why we all can’t just get along, you idiot! And if you don’t agree with me, then just go fuck yourself!