Image by Delphien Experiences via Flickr
Today has marked a day of twin importance - me crossing 100 posts and the other one, the more important one, having a long discussion with semi-drunks on Richard Dawkins, Selfish Gene, History, Into the wild and much more.
Of course its more of a given that the selfish gene operates at every level of human activity known till now. Its cause is more complicated by the most fundamental arguments of biology (and evolution) that the human end result (not death, though) is attributable to nature or nurture. So our discussion went on when we actually stumbled upon the problem of conflict versus cooperation. I am extremely aware of the fact that such topics of discussion laden with the nature versus nurture conflict raises a lot of pertinent points but the question that really stuck was that of primality.
Which comes first conflict or cooperation?As I often experience, history and culture are the victims of causality. All sorts of improper causal relations have been sought to explain human character. So I thought whether such a causal relation exists between conflict and cooperation.
At the level of basic thought process, cooperation is fundamentally a more involving mental thought than conflict which is more of a natural process. Therefore, as plotted against the chart of evolution, the idea (here I mean even the basic notion of these two ideas) of conflict and cooperation require different kind of mental acumen. Cooperation, by its nature, requires two or more parties in a state of agreement that requires a mental and verbal (often) interchange of the tenets of working together. Cooperation bases itself on the recognition of the power imbalance and an effort to ameliorate that imbalance while conflict is only an exposure to this imbalance. As a primeval organism, cooperation must have evolved much after the first experience of conflict.
Furthermore its only after experiencing a conflict that the idea of cooperation must occur to any living and mental (not the exclusionary one) organism. Its just goes on to prove (again the influence of causality) that cooperation as a thought is not natural and a post facto concept. A real question to be asked here is that the existence of conflict (or even the visualisation of conflict) is necessary for the formulation of cooperation among such thinking animals. Prima facie a causal link exists on the basis of -
- Complexity of thought of the idea of cooperation as against conflict which is readily experience-able
- Experiential (imaginary) coexistence of conflict
- Requirement of a developed mental faculty