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Evolutionary Mistakes, Human Predicament and Reverse Approach to Global Challenges

We do not have a definite answer to the question, why our ancestors abandoned their arboreal habitat. But it can be listed as the first evolutionary mistake, which today has precipitated the global challenges that stare back at us.
Introduction of money (as defined in modern economics) qualifies as the second in the list of evolutionary mistakes (social). Ironically man as a species has forgone wealth to become rich.
Perhaps it is too late to undo the natural evolutionary mistake. However despite multiple failures in attempts to eradicate poverty, we still harbor hope.
A reverse approach may throw open better prospects. Does it make more sense, if we try to eradicate richness?

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    Jun 19 2013: There not mistakes, just evolutionary predictable hurdles for us to get over.
  • Jun 18 2013: The concept of "evolutionary mistake" can't exist, evolutionary mistakes cannot happen simply because evolution has no goal at all, and without a goal the whole concept of mistake just disappears. We humans make mistakes because we have goals otherwise even the dumbest behavior wouldn't qualify as a mistake.

    Eradicate richness has already been tried with no positive results, remember the USSR?... private property and richness was officially forbidden, but yet the leaders of the communist party were wealthy enough to live like millionaires, while the rest of the people lived in even more poverty than poor people in the western hemisphere.
    • Comment deleted

      • Jun 19 2013: Very interesting, I didn't know, makes a lot of sense, I appreciate the info, thanks!!!
  • Jun 18 2013: If the goal is to eradicate poverty, then no, it makes no sense to eradicate richness. If we eradicate richness we will all live in poverty.

    The invention of money was not a mistake. The ongoing mistake is not adequately explaining money to school children.
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      Jun 19 2013: Is it really a binary scenario Barry? Either Rich or Poor? What about a third class where people understand the mechanics of a service or production-based economy because they had it "adequately explained" to them throughout their school years?
      • Jun 19 2013: Agreed, that a third, middle class is possible and desirable.

        At this point in history, it appears that the middle class is shrinking and will continue to do so for a while, perhaps a few decades. When the quality of life of the poor laboring classes of the developing world starts catching up with the middle class of the developed nations, the well being of all will rise.

        Economists can probably provide a thousand reasons why that scenario is misconceived, but that is my simple minded opinion.

        I think that attempting to eradicate or even reduce richness is probably futile and would probablyt lower the quality of life of everyone. It takes a reservoir of wealth to fund non-survival investments like education and research. That fellow who invented the water bottle that can make any water potable could do so because he was not too busy just trying to survive.
  • Jun 27 2013: The term mistake is relative. Please read through a comment on entropy equilibrium concept, where this has already been elaborated.
  • Jun 26 2013: There is no such thing as an evolutionary mistake, because "mistake" presumes that there is a predetermined "correct" outcome.
  • Jun 24 2013: Please do not limit the meaning of rich to be fiscally/monetarily rich.

    Money is a good surrogate to indicate the amount of resource consumed by an individual. People with more money are more likely to have an unsustainable way of life (wrt resource consumption). Eradicating richness implies restricting resource consumption. Again please do not read between lines to see it as some sort of Governmental or administrative control on resource consumption.

    This is a change that should be inculcated and not be coercive. It requires social engineering, a second renaissance. Unlike our inability to rectify the previously listed first evolutionary deviation, the second, which deals with money can be redone.
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      Jun 25 2013: The level of social engineering i see being required to accomplish the goals identified would either be a completely regenerated humanoid without the psychological makeup of homo sapiens who really enjoy their way of resource consumption or will literally kill to obtain that way of life or....
      Get bigger guns then the the rest of mankind has....
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    Jun 23 2013: The more I look at this the more I wonder if we eradicate richness everything will be better...
    What is this thing about richness, so many are against richness or maybe it's people who have been described as having riches..OK.
    So are they bad people? Well, if they went into the banks and robbed the vault, that's bad. But, if they got it fair and square does that make them bad?
    And how would you eradicate their richness.
    You can take it away form them, but isn't that what we criticized the bank robbers for, calling them bad...
    So this another way of justifying taking from the rich and giving to the poor...
    There is no way to ever justify "taking from" ....
  • Jun 23 2013: Quote:
    "Nothing in the world happens without a purpose. It would be difficult (with our present, limited understanding) to prove this statement beyond doubts. However, from a physical perspective; living organisms can be considered as entropy pumps. There is a constant effort to distribute entropy equally among the three spheres (atmo, hydro and litho) on the planet.
    Life or living organisms could have emerged to facilitate the entropy transfer. Those organisms, who could manage their thermal regimes better, dominate (natural selection) and established themselves far and wide (species distribution). Left to itself, nature can best be termed an eternal pump. Evolution has an objective - create an ideal entropy pump.
    Perhaps the phrase ‘evolutionary mistake’ can be rephrased ‘evolutionary deviation’ (deviation from what would have been a better course). The better course is to be decided by a hypothetical state of environment of the planet today, if a different trajectory of evolutionary development had occurred. By eradicating richness, I meant, eradicating money (which is disproportionately stacked with 20%)"
    Your words like Nothing in the world happens without a purpose", "natural selection" and "Evolution has an objective", etc. These presumptions were all based on the random evolution under the condition of optimum entropy. also it is related to the survival of the fittest. This kind of conditions apply to the bacteria or the animals in natural habitat.
    However, the human intelligence made them move from the forests to villages and and cultivating grain crops to survive and no longer depending on hunting and tree fruits. Therefore your term of "evolution mistakes" is really the intelligent humans escaped the clutch of random natural selection. In other word, even the weakest of the humans could survive many natural disasters or from killer predators, thus your entropy pump theory is no longer valid. This is triumph over evolution, unless we overdo it!
    • Jun 24 2013: It is difficult to comprehend your assumption that intelligent humans escaped the clutch of random natural selection. Yes humans have shown that they can. But the fight is still on. Look outside to see struggling millions in developing, underdeveloped and least developed countries.

      This is where the second evolutionary deviation comes to play. The miniscule proportion of people, with more access to resources, deprives the rest. Hence, if access to resouce can be administred .... (please read a recently posted reply)
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    Jun 20 2013: I can't see how leaving the trees was an evolutionary mistake. For one thing, it allowed us to farm down on the land, and keep land animals for food.

    I can't see how money is a mistake. It allows us to buy things at a distance, for example when you buy something over the Internet that is shipped from a thousand miles away, money makes that possible and convenient.

    I don't want to get rid of rich people. Rich people contribute more than any other segment of society, and what motivates them to contribute is the reward of becoming rich. Take away that reward, and you will see less contribution, and diminishment of society.
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    Jun 20 2013: Let's see, why did our ancestors abandon their caves, considered an evolutionary error, (really) and evolve into today's
    miserable situation of poverty (no money) and wealth ( lots of money ) and reverse evolve so to resolve this situation....
    I think I got it.
    But, I am not sure how to address it.
    We (mankind) should have not formed into large tribes and then villages, cultivated crops,domesticated animals, formed a society that allowed individuals to explore his talents and create output that he bartered for other product he needed. The baker barter bread to the farmer for wheat. When bartering evolve (there , I used that word) so that large quantities of product had to be exchanged, a small portable medium was created to relieve physical exchange problems. Other the years, some accumulated a lot of these exchange media and others not so many and this is an evolutionary problem.
    A problem that needs fixing. Well one option is to take the media from those who have and give it to those that haven't.
    But, that media represents a value of some product. If it is removed from that assigned value, then the media has no value and the recipients have a handful of worthless media.
    That leaves me cold.
  • Jun 20 2013: I am re-posting it because, apparently many of you would have missed the clarification that was provided yesterday.


    Overwhelming majority of scientific studies and publications articulate the view that evolution has no goals. Closing arguments in these studies are never universally convincing. Hence why do we need to believe it?

    Nothing in the world happens without a purpose. It would be difficult (with our present, limited understanding) to prove this statement beyond doubts. However, from a physical perspective; living organisms can be considered as entropy pumps. There is a constant effort to distribute entropy equally among the three spheres (atmo, hydro and litho) on the planet.

    Life or living organisms could have emerged to facilitate the entropy transfer. Those organisms, who could manage their thermal regimes better, dominate (natural selection) and established themselves far and wide (species distribution). Left to itself, nature can best be termed an eternal pump. Evolution has an objective - create an ideal entropy pump.

    Perhaps the phrase ‘evolutionary mistake’ can be rephrased ‘evolutionary deviation’ (deviation from what would have been a better course). The better course is to be decided by a hypothetical state of environment of the planet today, if a different trajectory of evolutionary development had occurred. By eradicating richness, I meant, eradicating money (which is disproportionately stacked with 20%).

    Imagine if there were nothing called money, what would be the motive for the scale of planetary excavations that we witness today? The counter argument that is flashed is, without motive, we would not have reached where we are today. This statement is made under the false premise that we are better off today? Is that truly so?
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      Jun 22 2013: This would make more sense if the living organisms where one celled. They would follow the path you've described. When the organism is a capable human who can make conscious choices that are contrary to evolution, the whole process seems to fall apart.
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    Jun 20 2013: .
    .
    Yes!

    A "reverse approach" will solve the "predicament"!
    It is easy!

    Just tell people what invalid (harmful) happiness is.

    Invalid happiness is the happiness that is harmful to keeping our DNA alive.
    It leads us to self-extinction.

    Then, our DNA will generate a new instinct to detect the invalid happiness and refuse it.


    (from Be Happy Validly! p 11)
  • Jun 20 2013: Thank you for your comments. I disagree with you.
    I like clean water, clean toilet and a big mac.
    I like money as a means to get what I like...It is survival of the fittest...

    You are welcome to go back to arboreal habitat and give me all of your money.
  • Jun 19 2013: :-) There are no mistakes. We, as a species, are "Living" according to our Nature..........which, at this moment in history, resembles bacteria in a petri dish rapidly consuming all available resources. Nature, of which we are a part of, generally has the last word and pays no attention to time.
    • Jun 20 2013: We, as a species, are "Living" according to our Nature.......... . Our nature is stupidity. There is a difference between bacteria in a dish and humans. A bacteria at the center of the dish does not immediately consume resource at the periphery. It allows multiple generations to reach out to the resource available at the edge.

      Where as our consumption is global. We reach out to all nooks and corners of this planet to exhaust. The motive for reaching out is 'money'. Pl see the replies given to George QT.
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    Jun 19 2013: I hope you are not using the coinage 'evolutionary mistake' in the biological sense. Biological and social evolutions are very different processes.
    You have a very genuine question at the end of your OP but I'd not describe it as 'eradicate richness', even if I discount the semantic confusion it involves. When looked at from a purely resource point of view, the question would be why there is no ethical, legal or economical limit of personal consumption of resources (which some may call luxury) when there is an objective description of poverty, a poverty line, a minimum spending/income to be on or below the line. All talks about eradicating poverty draw zero if this question is not answered logically.
    One great aspect of this resource consumption is energy. I don't think it needs explaining the resource connection of generation and spending of energy. One can look at the global average and that of few countries of the developed and under developed side. The gap speaks volumes. Next comes consumer goods, the absurdly large variety of it.
    I am sure my wise friends who are in favor of the Capitalist model of consumer economy will argue for free enterprise, ownership rights through innovation and technology and fair competition. I shall humbly submit that there is hardly anything fair in the whole mix. The sum total of the resources is finite, hence there is no logical way towards amassing wealth without having people who lose out, the poor. I tend to believe that this evolution of human society is flawed at birth.
    How can someone be rich if there is no comparatively poor? I hope you get my drift and acknowledge the stupendous beating about the bush when it comes to eradicate poverty.
    In my book, poverty is the restriction to access resources of the common pool. It is not just low income and miserable lifestyle. It is a complete lack of hope to self determine that access.
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    Jun 19 2013: Does your idea for a fresh approach to global problem solving live or die with your assumption that Man has experienced an "Evolutionary Mistake"? Too bad if it does because that is a shaky, not to mention irrelevant, foundation upon which to build what could be an important idea.
  • Jun 19 2013: This doesn't seem coherent and focused yet. Different things for different folks. George QT is right on evolution. Barry Palmer is probaably right and in agreement with Robert Kawasaki's books.
    • Jun 19 2013: Overwhelming majority of scientific studies and publications articulate the view that evolution has no goals. Closing arguments in these studies are never universally convincing. Hence why do we need to believe it?

      Nothing in the world happens without a purpose. It would be difficult (with our present, limited understanding) to prove this statement beyond doubts. However, from a physical perspective; living organisms can be considered as entropy pumps. There is a constant effort to distribute entropy equally among the three spheres (atmo, hydro and litho) on the planet.

      Life or living organisms could have emerged to facilitate the entropy transfer. Those organisms, who could manage their thermal regimes better, dominate (natural selection) and established themselves far and wide (species distribution). Left to itself, nature can best be termed an eternal pump. Evolution has an objective - create an ideal entropy pump.

      Perhaps the phrase ‘evolutionary mistake’ can be rephrased ‘evolutionary deviation’ (deviation from what would have been a better course). The better course is to be decided by a hypothetical state of environment of the planet today, if a different trajectory of evolutionary development had occurred. By eradicating richness, I meant, eradicating money (which is disproportionately stacked with 20%).

      Imagine if there were nothing called money, what would be the motive for the scale of planetary excavations that we witness today? The counter argument that is flashed is, without motive, we would not have reached where we are today. This statement is made under the false premise that we are better off today? Is that truly so?
      • Jun 19 2013: The concept of "goal" requires "intention" and intention requires planing, and planing requires someone in charge, so in order for evolution to have a goal (any goal) you need someone in charge or in other words a God, which I don't think is a very scientific strategy. So there are only two ways from here, either you insist evolution has a goal (defined by God) and we are talking religion, or you accept evolution has no goal and we are talking science. If we are talking religion then I agree "Nothing in the world happens without a purpose", but if we are talking science then I must disagree and rephrase your idea: "Nothing in the world happens without a cause", which means the concept of "evolutionary deviation" is also wrong.

        Now, let's talk about economy, I think you are overlooking two very important facts: 1) Money is just a tool, a tool to get the resources you need cheaply and easily. So richness is not really about the money but about the resources it can buy. 2) All living things from plants to mammals and from ants to humans accumulate resources for the hard times. Resource accumulation is the way living organisms respond to a changing environment. A desert plant that stores water is in fact accumulating wealth, and trying to make itself as rich as it cans, the same applies to a bear accumulating fat in its body, the fatter the bear is the richest and believe me, it will eat whatever in order to get as rich as it cans. If you want to talk about ants, bees, etc. the same story applies.

        So clearly this is not about money, it is about resources, and trying to solve the problem by eradicating money is like trying to cure cancer with a couple of aspirins. A more realistic approach would be to limit the amount of resources a person can accumulate, but there are lots of questions that must be answered first: who is going to establish that limit? how to make sure such limit is fair for all? who is going enforce it? and by which means?... etc.
        • Jun 20 2013: There are two things, that I would like to draw attention to:
          1. The word money used here as a surrogate for resource consumption.
          However resource consumption is not 'felt', where as money flow is. A redefinition of 'money' is what is needed. A rule of diminishing return, after a set limit of accumulated 'money', would in effect remove the 'motive' for further accumulation (read further exploitation of resources).
          Bio mimicry researchers observe how social animals gather resources, but very few ever bother to realize, that none of these animals accumulate more than what they want! Size of colonies are also based on number of inhabitants. Beyond this new colonies are formed. The spatial geometry of honey combs in a region is jaw-dropping.

          Just was thinking, what would have happened, if these organisms devised something like 'money'.

          2. Physicists talk about something called mind theory. Perhaps, it could be what is controlling every thing.
          Going by physical principles, any object tries to attain equilibrium with its environment. This is what planet Earth is also doing. The blanket of atmosphere impeded Earths' energy exchange and necessitates cycling of entropy. If we see that life evolved to facilitate this entropy cycle, then there is an objective: get an ideal entropy pump. Human actions have jeopardized this grand design. So what we are talking is science and just science.
      • Jun 20 2013: Thank you
        I learn from these discussions that's what I enjoyed about being with grad students in a dorm in my younger days.
      • Jun 20 2013: You say "resource consumption is not 'felt' as money flows", not immediately but it does as prices rise due to the resource becoming more scarce. You also say: "A redefinition of 'money' is what is needed" but you don't explain how, nor provide a plausible proposal.

        Not only social organisms gather resources, even plants do it, and they do accumulate as much as they can, the only thing is that they have physical constraints that impose limits on what can be accumulated, so the magic word here is: "can" and not "want" as you state.

        I never heard of the so called "mind theory" (related to physics as you argument) I googled it and just as I expected all I could find was related to psychology and not physics, so I doubt your references in this subject are accurate. Moreover you say "what we are talking is science and just science" but first you claim evolution has an "objective", and I wonder who set that objective, because just like a goal, an objective requires intention and definition, so unless there is a God behind I can't justify your argument, you also talk about a "grand design", design requires a designer, I wonder who is that designer... and again the only sensible answer I can find is God. So, since you are implying God is behind evolution what I see here is a religious talk not a scientific one like you state.
      • Jun 26 2013: After reading this document it is clear to me that you are taking the word "mind" too literally. Quote: "We recall that mind has not ever the same meaning of consciousness, as psychoanalysis teaches.". unquote (please read page 3 more carefully). So I still think it is a mistake to apply the concepts of: goal, objective, design, mistake and deviation, to sustain your arguments.

        Interesting document I must say, thanks for sharing.
        • Jun 27 2013: I have not taken the concept 'mind' literally.

          'Mind', like my first usage 'evolutionary error' is perhaps not the most suited word to describe something (presently unknown) that determines processes occurring on this planet. It tends to get immediately connected to psychology and the like.

          Coming back to the original point, evolution is not a random process (read it has purpose). The something that we today do not know, has memory. For example, consider the case of position of our eyes. Would it not have been better (to ward off attacks, or have more prospects of finding food) if we had one eye each in the front and back? "The something" had experimented this in lower forms of life. After realizing its merits or otherwise, decided to keep both eyes in one side. Isn't it a form of memory?

          Such crazy questions are needed to take our understanding forward than meekly accepting so called forcefully established scientific knowledge. So my point that evolution has purpose remains.
      • Jun 27 2013: I think you are misunderstanding something: Evolution is driven by two processes: 1) "random" mutation (please note the quotation marks, there's now way to make them look bigger, sorry for that), and 2) natural selection, which is the exact opposite to random. So evolution IS NOT (sorry I can't make words look bigger) a random process, but that doesn't imply that it has a propose, although it might SEEM so.

        Realize you are talking about a "mind" which has no consciousness, so there is no "intention" which means the "goal" is not fixed, so the "propose" can change (evolve) eventually.

        My problem with the argument that evolution has "propose" is that it looks like invitation not only to mystify science, but also to build all sorts of religious justifications to defy and discredit science, which is indeed very dangerous problem.

        Now, let's just for a moment suppose your arguments are right. The fact that evolution would have a propose does not imply we humans know it or that we will ever know it. So, how can you tell with such degree of confidence that what your "know" the actual and true propose of evolution?