Thursday, September 2, 2010

Darwin and Hummingbirds

Self interest seems to be the rule of the day.   And it probably has been  from the beginning of time.  Religious and spiritual disciplines preach tolerance and love for our neighbors.  That love for ourselves and the people around us is the way we should live our lives.   And it all sounds good and right to me.

And as I sit on my deck drinking my morning coffee, I watch the continuing drama with the hummingbirds.  I love watching the half bird, half bug animals hover around to the many feeders I placed on the deck.   First there was one, then two, and now three.   As a bird comes to the feeder, they cautiously look around to see if they can safely drink without being attacked by one of their colleagues.   If lucky, they get 5 seconds before another comes swooping in to attack and intimidate.   This Darwinian drama continues until the sun goes down.

Is tolerance and love for our fellow man only applicable if ones survival is not threatened?   The hummingbird needs to eat or die.   Do the herds of antelope in Africa or the schools of tuna in the Pacific work and live together peacefully because it is their way of surviving?   Do nations and races create ideologies that bond their societies together as a way of protecting themselves from other races, allowing them to survive?   Is a world of plenty for all the only way we can achieve peace and love?   I wonder... I have more than enough feeders for all the hummingbirds in Ridgewood.

Seems to me that self interest, honesty and directness is the only way to achieving understanding, and eventually for defining behaviors that are in the best interest for all.   People and animals quickly know the rules and adapt in ways that assure their survival.   If they don't adapt, they die.

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