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The knives are out for Davos Man

by Timothy Garton Ash, 29/01/09

Quote from article: "Davos Man, 'the most highly evolved mammal on the planet'"

Many a true word is spoken in jest, they say. In the light of which I suggest we take a closer look at this pun.

It is not a matter of whether Homo sapiens (!?) is a highly evolved mammal or not (although, clearly he is), but of what environment evolution adapted him (physically and behaviourally) to "succeed" in?

Here we could do with the expertise of an evolutionary anthropologist, but I think it is safe to assume that Homo sapiens (which includes Davos Man and all the rest of us) evolved in and is thus adapted to (especially behaviourally) a very different environment to the one he lives in today, which should lead us to question the nature of this modern environment and of Homo sapiens behaviour in it.

The original, physical environment still forms the basis of the environment in which Homo sapiens lives (and like a dumb animal is rapidly degrading), but from a behavioural perspective, an artificial, socioeconomic environment has effectively taken its place (thus the mistaken priorities leading to such neglect of the former), as the venue for his continuing (what else?) Darwinian struggle for survival and "success", which, observations suggest, has been perverted (in this unnatural environment) and reduced to the pursuit of POWER (money, social and professional status, etc.), which in Homo sapiens' original, natural environment would greatly have enhanced individual survival and, especially male, reproductive success.

I'll leave it there for the moment, just adding a link, to a brief introduction to the human-evolutionary perspective these ideas are based on.