A future of remorseless violence

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Following up to “Most people are basically good — approximately 94%” and “The dark side of love and self-sacrifice“.

According to J.M. Ledgard, regarding what ant societies can teach us

the weak are shed and fed upon, and those who have the slightest scent of another colony are sprayed with a chemical marking them out for death. […] “History is almost certainly colony against individual and colony against colony. If group selection is correct, what you would expect to find is an intense human desire to form groups that attack other groups; bands of brothers, teams.” Then comes the rider. “As shortages in oil and other energy sources increase, we will see insect traits. Group conflict is so deeply endemic that we will never diminish it until we confront it.”

This is more than a little alarming. Ants, after all, fight enormous battles to the death. If Wilson is right, regardless of political science, the future will be both more structured and remorseless in its violence. “With leafcutter ants”, he adds, “there is a 1-in-10,000 chance a queen will succeed in colonising a new colony. So there is an intense pressure to stick to the rules of an organisation.” He emphasises how an ant colony “insists upon absolute sovereignty” and demands “constant population growth and ever-rising productivity”, traits which seem to shared by humans.

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