Adaptive Society: Biology Supports Global Law, Consensual Government and Sustainable Technology, by Ross Milburn, published by Adaptive Society Media, 2014. Size 9x6 inches, soft cover, 255 pages.
Adaptive Society explains why current civilization does not “fit” human needs and what humans can do about it. We see failure of fit in warfare, the 80% of diseases that are caused by the industrialized lifestyle, exaggerated wealth differentials, the disruption of family life in divorce and greatly diminished birth rates, the widespread corruption of governments, and the excessive consumption of alcohol and other drugs.
The “fit” between humans and their habitat in nature resulted from evolution. In the 19th century, Charles Darwin explained the process of inheritance, variation and natural selection, by which all living things continually adapt to their environment. But when the unique human brain evolved, it gave rise to technologies, like stone tools, control of fire, clothing and artificial dwellings. Eventually, human inventions were created so rapidly that Darwinian evolution could no longer alter humans fast enough to fit their habitat.
In the 20th century, multiple researchers realized that adaptive fit was still being generated, by the evolution of society and culture as a whole, and this is mostly maintaining an adaptive relationship with the human species. Evolution has been “inverted” so that, instead of the human species evolving to adapt to its natural habitat, the artificial habitat, based on technology, is evolving to provide adaptive conditions for humans. Adaptive Society includes the first holistic description of how habitat evolution takes place.
There is still, however a problem, because evolution of the human habitat depends upon the normal social organization of the human species. When natural selection favored the powerful human brain, it also selected collaborative behavior, so that human societies became more egalitarian. When truly modern humans left Africa, they were able to spread across the entire world, thanks to our unique ability to cooperate intelligently, without any coercive leadership whatsoever.
The human brain made the species biologically “civilized,” which means that our ancestors lived by collaboration or “contract” rather than by force. But tragically, the brain also made our ancestors brilliant hunters, so that they could wipe out whole prey species and then be forced to fight for food resources. Fighting 60,000 years ago began to change our social organization from collaboration to hierarchy again. When humans adopted agriculture 10,000 years ago, the organization of human societies had been altered by the brutal force of military conquest. Modern societies now support hierarchy and the unquestioned power of political elites that have acquired a monopoly of force.
Under the state, the human freedom and egalitarianism that existed in the Paleolithic were replaced by hierarchy, including slavery. From a biological perspective, all modern governments are coercive parasites, practicing “tax-farming” and the host population comprise their human livestock. The corruption of human social organization means that the evolution of the artificial habitat can no longer provide fully adaptive conditions for humans. In those societies that employ most technology, reproductive rates have collapsed.
Humans may be marked for extinction if we do not alter our social organization by demanding consensual government. The human species is fighting for its life, and the only weapon we have is scientific knowledge of our Paleolithic history. Adaptive Society provides the first scientific description of the real human dilemma that we all face.