EO Wilson’s “Love of Cash” and LGBTQ
While the death this week of the imposing champion of human rights, Bishop Desmond Tutu, is the largest in the world, the more recent death of another seminal figure, the entomologist Dr EO Wilson, hailed by many as one of the greatest scientists of our time for his contributions to the fields of conservation, biodiversity and the planet.
I was inspired by the work of Dr Wilson in my bestselling book, “Extraordinary Hearts, Reclaiming Gay Sensibility’s Central Role in the Progress of Civilization” (Lethe Press, 2013), citing Dr Wilson’s groundbreaking contributions to the central role of civilization. altruism in societies and the role of this in defining LGBTQ identity. Quoting extensively from my book here:
Chapter title: “In nature, we are different for a reason”
Our society remains trapped in a macho paradigm. Boys are raised to be soldiers, whether in real wars or in a colorless corporate world, and girls are raised to serve their men and their nest. All of them are held, by relentless cultural and religious bombardment, in a matrix of debt slavery. With student debt, mortgages, and the costs of raising a family, an illusion of freedom is really debt slavery setting the parameters of a “normative” life. Freedom is limited to the choice of beers.
EO Wilson’s work cited the central concept of “group selection” as an explanation that most evolutionary biologists now reject because “the benefits of generosity are much less tangible than the benefits of selfishness.” But Wilson thinks that’s the key to understanding selflessness. In the case of ‘cooperation’ of microbes, plants, and even female lions, “cooperative groups thrive and replicate, while selfish groups wither and die,” Wilson wrote in 2007. “Selfishness beats down. altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat out selfish groups.
He concludes that “what makes us human is that our history is shaped by two forces (altruistic and selfish)”.
Altruism as a concept, in the context of a normative, fundamentally selfish male dominated society, is akin to the prominent features of non-normative types and is essential for the success of the society. It matters to us.
The thoughtful implications of the bio-evolutionary and genetic evidence of what may be called “altruism” as a central and indispensable component for the successful survival and evolution of species are truly amazing and revolutionary, all the more so that they relate to questions of normality. and the need for an erotic attraction between people of the same sex …
Jonah Lehrer’s article on the findings of entomologist EO Wilson in the March 5, 2012, edition of The New Yorker shifted the conversation far beyond commonly accepted interpretations of the evolutionary notions of “natural selection” and Charles Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”.
Wilson’s work focused on “the advantages of generosity” over the “advantages of selfishness” in the success of species observed in nature, and found that the former outweighed the latter in concerns the ability of groups to “thrive and reproduce …”
The astonishing discovery introduced is that the kind of erotic same-sex attraction is not a variant of the heterosexual reproductive impulse at all. Instead, it is a manifestation of “love of the species”.
Evidence from history has shown from ancient Greece a strong connection between such a “love of species” and social progress. It is a connection inclined to overthrow arbitrary tyranny in favor of expanding institutions of justice (including for women, orphans and slaves), legally constituted democracy, negotiating on war and promoting justice. invention, science and universal education against tyrannically imposed. superstition and fear.
This connection represents the operation of the same type of “altruism” in human evolution and progress that Wilson observed in his natural studies. As in Wilson’s studies, this impulse is in constant tension with that of selfishness, and in particular with a selfishness prevalent in the assertions “force does good” and “survival of the fittest” by the most capable males. strong, aggressive and deadly of a species.
This tension exists throughout nature and throughout human history. Its omnipresence and permanence explain why the forces of “altruism” have always fought to establish lasting institutions as bastions of strength and perseverance against the eternal onslaught of tyrannical impulses “force does good” … and them. The best Enlightenment leaders saw the development of democratic constitutions as important to overthrowing tyrannies like revolutions themselves.