Ego, Eco, Evo

Ego, Eco, Evo July 20, 2016


PZ Myers shared the above image a while back, comparing different ways of viewing the world and our place in it. I’m not sure that they are as incompatible as might be thought. One can recognize that all living things share a history and much else, and yet also treat more complex living things as in some ways different, perhaps even from our standpoint, dare I say superior?

But with that preeminence comes not merely privilege, but also responsibility.

How does information about the history of living things impact and shape your values and worldview?


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  • Grimlock

    With great preeminence comes great responsibility?

    As to your question, I’m not sure how it impacts all of my worldview. Though it certainly impacts my view of morality and its origins. It is also slowly changing my view of whether eating other animals is a good thing. (At least in theory.)

  • John MacDonald

    I think the bio-system teaches us a great deal. For instance, just as the death of a fish doesn’t involve transition into an afterlife, so is this also the case with the death of bacteria, fungi, plants, chickens, pigs, dogs, apes, and humans. Thinking that humans are somehow different and “set aside” for the reward or punishment of eternity is unfounded egoism.

  • arcseconds

    From an ‘evo’ point of view, aren’t we just a cause of a (so far) moderate extinction event and some climate change, sort of like the asteroid impact that killed of the dinosaurs, but (so far) not as bad?

    • Yes, so far our species could be more easily described as “destructive” rather than superior.

    • charlesburchfield

      Marry, ’tis not so deep as a well, nor so wide as a church-door, but ’tis enough, ’twill serve: ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man.”
      Act 3, Scene 1

      Mercutio said this to Romeo

  • Before accepting the “ego” worldview, do notice that it places men over women in “superiority”, not a concept garnered from nature.

  • jekylldoc

    The insights of reason must be integrated with the urges of emotion and the social structures sanctioning meaning, and that integration is basically reason’s job. Science keeps adding insights, and so we now know how interconnected we are to less complex organisms and how our nature as flesh conditions whatever glory we might claim as souls. But there is a lot of work remaining to be done, not just to resist the damage we do to our ecosystem, but to integrate our new knowledge with cultural views, right down to the most elemental.

    • charlesburchfield

      Dunno if this is relevant but your post triggers a rememberance that the tares are growing up with the wheat.

  • charlesburchfield

    I like this quote:
    “It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life—daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.”
    ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning