O.Wilson, E., The Social Conquest of Earth, in the University Library at XP 6 WIL
|Meerkat by Evan Chu|
Reproduced under a
The core of the issue is the extent to which human behaviour, culture and society is defined and controlled by genes, and this work shifted the common understanding. Unfortunately the idea of a genetic basis for selfishness has since been used as a foundational rationale and excuse for a strand of economic and political agendas which ultimately helped create our current crisis.
In my chosen book, The Social Conquest of Earth, Wilson has summed up the conclusion of his life’s work on social biological societies; ranging from the ants that were his original focus through to his attempt to resolve the process of human evolution and define the human condition.
I find when managing a cooperative service like an academic library, the balance between selfishness and altruism in people is a constantly observed feature of everyday life, and this unresolved tension is at the heart of this work. It is interdisciplinary in its scope, and an easier read (and less weighty) than Sociobiology.