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Life Arts

Participating in a Co-Opoly While Letting Go of Monopoly

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(Article changed on July 11, 2013 at 15:58)


Co-Opoly Board Game by Calverts Coop

It has been stated that Darwin's theory of evolution proposed a process of "competition and survival of the fittest." However, it has also been proposed that "survival of the fittest" is more of a capitalist notion founded upon competition between businesses. As an article on Survival of the Fittest on Quickwiki states:

"Survival of the fit enough" is also emphasized by the fact that while direct competition has been observed between individuals, populations and species, there is little evidence that competition has been the driving force in the evolution of large groups. For example, between amphibians, reptiles and mammals; rather these animals have evolved by expanding into empty ecolological niches. In the punctuated equilibrium model of environmental and biological change, the factor determining survival is often not superiority over another in competition but ability to survive dramatic changes in environmental conditions, such as after a meteor impact energetic enough to greatly change the environment globally. The main land dwelling animals to survive the K-T impact 65 million years ago had the ability to live in underground tunnels, for example.

Thus, it appears that the primarily capitalist notion of "competition and survival of the fittest" is more complex than what many of us have been taught. Adaptability to the environment may be more functional to survival than competition. Adaptability means being able to change in relationship to the environment. Evolution could thus be seen as a relationship between environment and a particular species. Evolution may be more cooperative than competitive.

Could this also mean that evolution is more favorable towards species that work with an environment rather than control it? Does this also mean that our destruction and lack of working with our planet's atmosphere is more likely to bring forth our extinction (alongside several species that are at the mercy of our capitalistic ways)?

It has also come into question whether the evolutionary process as a whole is competitive by those who study the Earth. Indeed, the atmosphere of the Earth is generated by an interaction of the parts in creating a mixture of carbon dioxide and oxygen that is beneficial to both plants and animals. In other words, all creatures and plants may be involved in a planetary dance with oceans and lands in creating an atmosphere that is a "win-win" situation. Indeed, it appears that the Earth Herself is one single organism in which we and our brother/sister animals alongside plant-life are cells in the Earth's atmosphere and in our breathing compose its make-up (see Gaia Hypothesis).

Perhaps God/Goddess is indeed more about love than brow beating people into submission. Perhaps the consequences of not loving are more Natural than imposed by some external authority.

But, how do we deal with Nature's being raw in tooth and claw? Well, the fact is, most of the animals that are eaten by meat eaters are more likely to be the sick or poorly adapted which, in fact, may be overall beneficial to the plant eaters in weeding out the weak. This does not deny the heartbreak of a mother gazelle watching her baby being eaten by some creature. But, this act does benefit the gazelles as a whole in term of keeping the population in check. If the population grew to horrendous proportions, the gazelles would overgraze and destroy the land upon which they depend. (Meditate on this in relation to human growth).

To keep populations manageable, it has even been reported that women in ancient tribal cultures would abort their babies based upon whether or not the tribe would be able to care for them. In other words, the life of the unborn baby was evaluated in the context of the larger culture and the ability of the ecosystem to sustain a larger number of people. The abortions by these women were not murderous deeds based on self-righteous arrogance. They were done in the light of the health of the tribe and the ecosystem's ability to support the tribe and other life forms.

We may scoff at this and say, "oh, these people were horrible! They disrespected life." Yet, these people did not destroy the entire ecosphere that supported them, nor did they pollute the waters. They did not exploit and enslave the mass of humanity for the benefit of the few. Indeed, they evaluated their lives in the context of the whole, both human and non-human. Thus, birth and death decisions were made on the bases of the greater whole. Indeed, these cultures have been named as "Partnership Societies" by contemplatives such as Riane Eisler.

Yet, even with this information, we are bombarded with a culture intent on the false doctrine of competition and survival of the fittest. There have even been people who argue that this was not a Darwinian theory, but a capitalist one. It may well be that cooperation is more imperative than competition in survival. This means cooperation with the environment as well as with each other.

Charles Dickens had some insight into this small lot of men in his story of Scrooge. But, even Scrooge has been revealed as a joke. Even given the sickness of Tiny Tim, the real bankers smoke, drink and laugh as they count their riches and political powers over the governments of the world. Songwriters such as David Mallet sing of this powerful lot in songs such as "Ten Men." (Link below)

Our conditioning, though, is hard to break. From early childhood on, we are taught to compete in school, in the games we play, and in the messages through our corporate owned media. Ours is about winning for ourselves. Thus our corporations seek endless profits at the expense of the environment and the health and welfare of those that support it with money and labor.

Interesting how many psychologists see alienation as a primary problem in today's society. Is our competitive drive an aspect of this alienation? Is love more enjoining and thus less alienated than competition? Is cooperation closer to a world of love than competition?

Even our games are meant to indoctrinate and seduce our children into the mindset of competition. Monopoly is one such game. The intent on such a game is to wipe everyone else out while you take the entire pot. In our handful of corporations owning the world, it appears we are coming close to a winner! Our one world ruler is simply the Corporate World, which includes the world Bankers.

But, what if WE had the power to change this story? At present, we are bought into the story of the Bankers. But, we can refuse to play their game of Monopoly! We can, instead, play the game of Co-opoly. Thus we can build a culture of cooperation while diminishing competition. We're not going to eradicate competition, for its a part of Nature. Indeed, competition can be a cooperative venture in terms of how a species becomes stronger in relation to other species that utilize the same resources. Thus, members of a horn bearing tribe of animals may lock horns in competition which then strengthens their ability to ward off predators.

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Burl is an avid writer and publishes to OpEd News. He is author of "Sophia's Web: A Passionate Call to Heal Our Wounded Nature." As of this writing, Burl is planning to self-publish the book. Alongside his wife, Burl co-hosts an on line radio (more...)
 

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Perhaps competition is but another form of coopera... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:39:34 PM
When shall we move beyond a handful of men ruling ... by Burl Hall on Thursday, Jul 11, 2013 at 3:46:13 PM
You make good points about the "nature red in toot... by Derryl Hermanutz on Sunday, Jul 14, 2013 at 4:12:01 PM