There are some interesting suggestions here. As Kevin Laland’s recent article mentions the tendency of scientists to get entangled in human exceptionality is touchy because of the history of religious claims justifying themselves. Our differences in nature from our fellow life forms is increasingly understood to be difficult to define qualitatively. Most everything that we can do they can do also, at least among those equipped with neural capacity adequate to the task.

But there is also a point at which quantitative difference becomes indistinguishable from qualitative ones. That’s a fine line that must be handled with great humility at the species level. As a result I tend to be unhappy with presentation of stereotypical chimp behaviors as illustrations of lower forms. There are a lot of people who don’t get much farther along than banging cans together. And there are others who can achieve an art form with can banging.

More specifically the idea of high quality informational transfer is one thing that we actually do better than anyone else on this planet. While I will certainly grant religion, at least at the stage of classical civilization’s axial age, the early motivation to consolidate and critically define information beyond day to day acceptance, but that produced only some methodology for critiquing knowledge as part of its replication. The possible end points of that process were quickly reached and little else could be done with analogies and myth. Religion was a stage in informational analysis and replication.

But you are absolutely correct that we must more clearly define and limit competition as a tool and not as an absolute virtue. The post capitalist world will be defined by limiting both greed and competition. And chimpanzees are both hoarders and sharers.

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Educator, CIO, retired entrepreneur, grandfather with occasional fits of humor in the midst of disaster. . .

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