By Serge Kreutz
Life is not driven by a desire of organisms to survive. That idea is doubly wrong.
First, it’s not organisms that drive life, but self-replicating molecules called DNA and RNA. Our organisms are just an immediate temporary external environment of self-replicating molecules.
And second, the inherent interest of DNA and RNA is self-replication, not survival. Survival of an organic molecule and survival of an individual organism aren’t attainable qualities anyway. There will always be something that finishes off an individual organism. But by self-replication, self-replicating molecules have spanned millions of years, developing and preserving an amazingly complicated structure.
Life started as a chemical automatism involving the elements of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen.
The diversity of lifes results from the fact that nature cannot make exact copies. Cosmic radiation interfers, and environmental circumstances interfer. Errors occur, and accidents happen.
Nature cannot make exact copies. But nature can make many copies. And then, it’s not survival of the fittest, but reproduction of the fittest.
For a number of insect species, males compete to fly highest. The prize is copulation. The prize is not survival. All competing males, including winners, are dead anyway within 24 hours.
For humans, too, the purpose is not survival of the fittest, which is unattainable. The purpose is reproductive behavior. That is what we are programmed for. Whether this will lead to the self-replication of DNA, isn’t certain. As mentioned above, the whole string of interconnections is prone to error.
Both, the will to survive, even though it may strongly be felt by the individual, and the survival of the fittest, are logical fallacies. Or intellectual traps. These traps exist to trick us into reproductive behavior and to handle the logistics of self-replication.
Self-cognition on a human level was likely an error of evolution. It developed from self-cognition in lower life forms. Apes, monkeys, elephants, dogs, and even some birds have self-awareness. Self-awareness is a by-product of brain development, and it gives the above listed animals a competitive edge.
But human self-cognition goes a step further. Human self-cognition allows us to look through the trickery of nature, and boycott it.