Evolutions: social vs biological

April 11, 2018

:: social vs biological evolution

Vertical, biological evolution is an optimization algorithm that is well understood. There is also a concept of horizontal evolution, where transfer of genes (or more broadly speaking, any information or knowledge) is done in the same generation, between the individuals. In microbiology, bacteria may exchange proteins that enables them to survive the environment, and on macro scale, you can think of humans sharing knowledge that would also allow them to better fit to the environment, for example by using medicaments, or something simple as sharing info about which parts of the city are dangerous and to try and avoid them. Horizontal evolution is "gene" transfer that is not necessarily exchanged between different generations, i.e. passed by ancestors.

Horizontal evolution is a powerful concept. Our medicine is basically it. It allows globally higher chance of better outcomes. For example, think of the late Stephen Hawking. Bilogically, he was inferior to many of the other people, but other people helped him through medicine and allowed him to express his other potentials, and actually managed to move human species more forward with newly acquired physics knowledge that would have otherwise been unreachable. So horizontal evolutino is good. As a big singular system, human species is btter using part of resources to support parts of it that would otherwise be erased by pure vertical evolution. It's a redistribution of resources to maximize utilization of global capacities.

Further more, there is question of social vs biological evolution. It is probably inevitable to build social hierarchies as the size of group gets bigger and bigger. It's probably inevitable to have not just hierarchy, but different groupations and division of responsibility like we do have in our society today. You can't grow food and get water, and do science, and make art, and star in your own movies, so the system redistributes responsibility and roles according to one's wishes and capabilities and governs the amounts by the supply and demand. The question is whether we advance more as such complex hierarchical system (social evolution) or it would be better to let the natural evolution do it's job (vertical + horizontal, natural selection)? Or is the best to combine both?