2013101198479938-2013-11MacroHarrisF1(2 min. read)

With the start of the new year it is my intention, no my vow, to publish “Collaborability; a theory of human collaboration” as a free eBook this year.

The popular view is that our society is created and adapted (best) via competition as the overriding principle. This world view has a parallel in the popular views held on evolution: “Struggle for life and survival of the fit”. This notion has become so engraved in our brains that it is hard to argue that this view is only part of the story at best and a fallacy at worst. Collaborability aims to explore the role and dynamics of collaboration and symbiosis in our development.
While Collaborability is focussing on human collaboration the framework of ideas it represents is both supported by and is relevant for other sciences.

Bradford Harris (Ph.D candidate at Stanford University) has written an interesting article Evolution’s Other Narrative. This article was published in the November-December 2013 issue of the American Scientist. He elaborates on the same issues as I do but then from the perspective of biology. Understanding the role of collaboration and symbioses in biology sheds a different light on evolution. We seem to work on the same type of dynamics from different angles.

I can not think of a better start of this year on Collaborability then to whole heartedly suggest his article for your reading.

Despite Margulis’s legacy, early 20th-century concepts of “survival of the fittest” continue to determine how evolution is taught and, therefore, how it is understood even by most scientists. Beyond the popular discourse, relatively advanced textbooks devoted entirely to the study of evolution omit the concept of symbiogenesis. The fourth edition of a leading undergraduate textbook of evolution, Evolutionary Analysis (2008), still devotes entire sections to “combat,” “competition,” and “conflict,” neglecting symbiosis. Most high school graduates are taught the term symbiosis, but it is typically presented to mean little more than mutually beneficial cooperation. Students learn how symbiosis benefits individuals, but not how symbiotic relationships themselves often constitute emergent organisms that display their own evolutionary histories. Only evolutionary specialists have universally adopted an appreciation for symbiogenesis.

Recovering the story of evolution goes a long way toward understanding how to maintain the integrity of a living organism. Wherever symbiotic ideas spread, they lead to important new practical insights. … Exploring the history of scientists’ attempts to understand evolution reveals neglected insights into the associations between individuals, associations at least as meaningful as the individuals themselves.