Is this world really just an animal kingdom based on competition?

In answer to Quora question "Is this world really just an animal kingdom based on competition?"

Thanks for the A2A Anna.

There are a number of ways to come at this question, depending on one's beliefs, but IMO they can all arrive at similar conclusions if one proceeds carefully and thoughtfully enough. Some examples....

- A materialist or empiricist might observe that there is both competition and cooperation within and between different species, and in fact that prosocial traits evolved within humans and other species via group selection, so that they come to have a genetic predisposition to be cooperative, mutually supportive, generous, caring and kind.

- A panpsychist, systems theorist or constructive integralist might say that energy exchanges - and indeed consciousness - are constantly interacting and morphing in all forms of life, so that what we perceive as competition is just a thin veneer of temporary, situational opportunism on top of a much deeper continuity of interdependence and dialectical synthesis.

- A mystic might conclude that all of existence - and all forms of life - are an emergent expression of the immanent and ultimately unitive creative impulse: the unmanifest essence of being cascading forth in multifaceted wonder. In this context, what we perceive as "competition" is just the natural tension between different facets of that essence attempting to differentiate from each other, when really that difference is just an illusion, a construct with impermanent utility that dissolves within an egoless spiritual perception-cognition.

On the other hand, there are other approaches (reductionism, objectivism, nihilism, atomistic individualism, etc.) that prefer to see the world as "just an animal kingdom based on competition," and so they shy away from deeper structures of existence and being. Just like a stone skipping along the surface of the ocean, all they tend to see are the waves flowing or colliding with each other. But when we delve beneath the surface, the waves become irrelevant, and there is only one, seemingly infinite body of ocean. This shift in perspective requires courage to initiate, and often demands letting go of comforting coping mechanisms and defensive reflexes, and for these reasons fear and insecurity can present challenging barriers. But with patience, effort, time, focus and self-discipline, it is possible to move beyond the self-referential view that limits our understanding to a primarily competitive framework.

My 2 cents.


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