Re: [biopoet] The Resilience Perspective & The Importance of Diversity
- Mike--Just a quick thought before dashing off to class. Resilience theory seems to assume that a "state of healthy balance" is somehow right and proper, or is at least the ultimate goal of evolution or human growth, but I suspect EP theory will say that "healthy balance" is irrelevant, that maximizing reproductive fitness may require one to abandon healthy balance, especially in the face of organisms that might be more fit in a particular context, or might be innately more fit, thus requiring the original organism to "cheat" or spend some "healthy balance" resources in an attempt to compete. But I have told myself before to never write e-mails at the crack of dawn before rushing off to school, so . . . JT----- Original Message -----From: Mike TintnerSent: Thursday, August 24, 2006 4:55 AMSubject: [biopoet] The Resilience Perspective & The Importance of Diversity[also posted on evo-psych]:I just came across the "resilience perspective" which crops up in the latest Complexity Digest. It seems to be a big thing in various kinds of social work, software networks and the study of ecosystems [but please enlighten me further]. There is an emphasis on teaching people of all ages to be resilient, and also on observing the resilience of systems.
I suspect it could have an impact on evolutionary thinking. Here is a statement from one website:
"Core Ideas are the lens or "glasses" through which we look at caring citizenship - the fundamental assumptions or biases that inform our views.
At the heart of our thinking is what we call the "social resilience perspective": the belief that individuals and communities have an innate capacity to return to a state of healthy balance. This perspective has important implications for how we think about the nature of individuals and communities, which in turn has far-reaching implications for social action and policy. For example, a social resilience perspective suggests that we are not passive recipients in need of outside support and intervention, but that we have a built-in capacity to transform, adapt, heal and survive. It also suggests that the healthiest communities are those that are most diverse, for diversity is the key to resilience in all natural systems.
Note that last part: diverse populations and systems are crucial to resilience in all natural systems. This seems to me to strike at the heart of much EP thinking, and its emphasis on evolution through selection of the fittest (however defined). Selection increases, and tends towards uniformity.
What is striking about human populations to me is how stubbornly diverse they remain - how the unfit (however defined) - e.g. the mentally ill, drop-outs, anxious, depressed etc. - persist generation after generation, refusing to obey the laws or principles of EP. And what this resilience perspective suggests to me is that there is great adaptive value in that. There is great value to any society in having a diverse population, which in its diversity questions and offers alternatives to the dominant lifestyles and values. And that principle will hold at every level of evolution.
Could selection be non-adaptive? Let me draw a loose analogy. Not so long ago, a totalitarian view of society was widespread - many used to think that totalitarian government would naturally, logically,surely be a more efficient system of decisionmaking than any democratic government. Now there is more or less a consensus that democratic government while often tortured in its decisionmaking, is vastly more effective government, since it is more responsive to the needs and thoughts of far more people.
Could selection as a view certainly of human evolution be as simplistic as the totalitarian view of government and society?
Biopoet P.S. And guess which half of our culture exists to explore and celebrate the underlying uniformity of populations, and which to explore, and celebrate, their diversity, individuality (and resilience)?