Law of Limited Competition

From P2P Foundation
Jump to: navigation, search


From Daniel Quinn:


"During the Great Forgetting it came to be understood among the people of our culture that life in "the wild" was governed by a single, cruel law known in English as "the Law of the Jungle," roughly translatable as "kill or be killed." In recent decades, by the process of looking (instead of merely assuming), ethologists have discovered that this "kill or be killed" law is a fiction. In fact, a system of laws -- universally observed -- preserves the tranquility of "the jungle," protects species and even individuals, and promotes the well-being of the community as a whole. This system of laws has been called, among other things, the peacekeeping law, the law of limited competition, and animal ethics.

Briefly, the law of limited competition is this: You may compete to the full extent of your capabilities, but you may not hunt down your competitors or destroy their food or deny them access to food. In other words, you may compete but you may not wage war on your competitors.

The ability to reproduce is clearly a prerequisite for biological success, and we can be sure that every species comes into existence with that ability as an essential heritage from its parent species. In the same way, following the law of limited competition is a prerequisite for biological success, and we can be sure that every species comes into existence following that law as an essential heritage from its parent species.

Humans came into existence following the law of limited competition. This is another way of saying that they lived like all other creatures in the biological community, competing to the full extent of their capacity but not waging war on their competitors. They came into existence following the law and continued to follow the law until about 10,000 years ago, when the people of a single culture in the Near East began to practice a form of agriculture in which you were encouraged to wage war on your competitors -- to hunt them down, to destroy their food, and to deny them access to food. This was and is the form of agriculture practiced in our culture, East and West -- and in no other.

It is precisely this continuity that was broken in the Great Forgetting. To put it another way: After rejecting the law that had protected us from extinction for 3,000,000 years and making ourselves the enemy of the rest of the biological community, we suppressed our outlaw status by forgetting that there ever was a law.

Man was NOT born a few thousand years ago and he was NOT born a scourge. Man was born MILLIONS of years ago, and he was no more a scourge than hawks or lions or squids. He lived AT PEACE with the world . . . for MILLIONS of years. This doesn't mean he was a saint. This doesn't mean that he walked the Earth like a Buddha. It means he lived as harmlessly as a hyena or a shark or a rattlesnake. It's not MAN who is the scourge of the world, it's a single culture out of hundreds of thousands of cultures. OUR culture. We don't have to change HUMANKIND in order to survive. We only have to change a single culture. I don't mean to suggest that this is an easy task. But at least it's not an impossible one." (http://www.davidsheen.com/b/b1.htm)