The Way of the Competitor

the history of competition


Chapter 1



Competitiveness commonly refers to an organism's ability to survive and prevail over other organisms under given environmental conditions. In order to make the concept apply to all of the universe, I define it as any entity's likelihood of persistence both under static and changing environmental conditions, as judged by an intelligent being. In this way, competitiveness clearly applies to both living and non-living matter, and refers to an intuitive judgement rather than a fact. Additionally, any inquiry into the competitiveness of something must be predictive as well as analytical because the environment is assumed to change.

Competition refers to the way in which entities with competitive traits emerge and interact. When we describe the world in terms of competition we focus on what factors an entity's competitiveness depends, on how potential changes in circumstances affect its competitiveness, and on how we will act as competitors ourselves. In this section, I distinguish between three stages of competition in the evolution of the universe: stability, adaptation, and decision. The first of these is quite trivial and the last has not yet truly begun. For this reason, this chapter is concerned almost exclusively with adaptive competition, or microcompetition.


For roughly the first 100 seconds after the big bang, the universe consisted entirely of subatomic particles. Gradually, hydrogen and helium atoms formed and came to dominate the universe. After many millions and perhaps billions of years these atoms began to divide into regions of high and low density due to gravitational attraction. Dense clouds gradually formed galaxies and suns (and planets, asteroids,...), some large and dense enough to produce heavier elements through nuclear fusion. These heavier elements in turn produced a new diverse form of entities called molecules. At this stage, several types of stable entities had emerged from an initial chaos of widely scattered particles. Suns and planets, for example, can be thought of as objects selected out of a diverse range of particle configurations. Some criteria for their selection have included size (objects that are too small do not have sufficient gravity to hold them together; objects that are too large explode due to their large radiation (Hartmann, p.286), and shape (spherical shapes are gravitationally more stable than other shapes). The same kind of stability was achieved by certain molecules that prevailed in the competition among various possible molecules. Some crucial selection criteria were resistance against interstellar ultraviolet radiation and size (larger molecules tend to be more robust (Stoff, p.22).

adaptation: genetics

Molecules gained an additional competitive advantage by forming organized structures with the ability to self-replicate through genetic coding. Such replicators employed systematic procedures for creating more of their own. One obvious advantage of a replicator was its ability to flood the environment with its own kind. An additional advantage was gained through the tendency to make occasional errors in the replicating process. This enabled a way of creating different entities from the same entity and led to what we call natural selection.

All of natural selection can be reduced entirely to the survival of pieces of genetic coding that determine the traits of an organism. If particular genetic sequences are more successful in ensuring their spread and survival they will persist. The rest are weeded out. Our planet's ecology consists of a large-scale interactive competition among life forms in which whatever organizational units that are most successful in consistently reproducing its genes survive. These organizational units are most distinct in the form of individual organisms, groups of organisms, and the ecosystem taken as a whole.

An organism reproducing by DNA or RNA can develop any competitive traits that can conceivably be programmed by it with two exceptions. The first is that organisms can only evolve one or a few minor changes at a time. This limits the pace of evolution and precludes traits that would require jumps of many coordinated changes at a time to be produced. The other limitation is that the changes must be immediately advantageous in the present environment. This would, for example, preclude the development of competitive traits that could be produced a few changes at a time, but would have to pass through stages of development that are disadvantageous to the organism.

The two restrictions hold true for groups, societies, and ecosystems as well. They are characteristic of microcompetition, a type of interaction in which advantages tend to be seized instantly and evolution takes place mostly in adaptation to present circumstances. The distinguishing characteristic of microcompetition is that as a whole, it does not pursue a goal. It is competition strictly for the sake of competition and creates systems that become stalled as soon as the major competitive entities have exhausted the various advantages that can be seized. Such competition is said to have become tight, since no entity is powerful enough to stimulate a major upheaval. Any system relying primarily on adaptation is likely to eventually create extremely tight competition.

Our planet's evolutionary history therefore consists of a series of drawn-out stalemates called punctuated equilibria in which evolution proceeded slowly (Gould). Such periods would lasts many millions of years, but were interrupted by major climactic upheavals caused most probably by ice ages and collisions with meteorites. Large portions of the ecosystem would be wiped out, allowing the surviving species to rapidly adapt to the new conditions. In this way, the earth's climate acted as a catalyst for evolution without which microcompetition would not have allowed organisms of increasing complexity to emerge.

adaptation: memetics

There is no hard evidence to pinpoint the emergence of memetic evolution, so I begin this section with a thought experiment. Imagine a group of apes leisurely hanging around. Now, one of the apes engages in an activity he finds highly entertaining. He picks up stones he finds lying on the ground and hurls them against a tree. Seeing this, a less experienced ape becomes interested and imitates the throwing action. Having never thrown an object himself, his first efforts are clumsy. But after many years of practice, he becomes an accomplished thrower himself, putting him in a good position to teach his art to the generation.

What this example illustrates is a new medium for passing on competitive traits. In this new form of competition, it is not genes, but intangible ideas or memes that are selected for (Dawkins). My example is not intended to imply that memes are the exclusive realm of humans; a mother teaching its kittens to hunt may partly rely on hunting knowledge she herself learned by imitation. Memes can program competitive human behavior just like genes, but in addition, they have the advantage of quickly spreading from one individual to another. This was especially enhanced through the invention of language, which opened the way to the realm of abstract ideas. An example of highly successful memes in today's world are the great world religions. Their tenets, or memes, were selected for in part because of their effectiveness in passing themselves on to as many people as possible. Howard Bloom has described a poignant example of this in The Lucifer Principle. He describes how the Moslem religion has encouraged more aggressive behavior by teaching many of its adherents to wage war in order to help spread its faith (Bloom, p.223-233). In a similar vein, it has taught many of its own members to live in harmony and peace, thereby enabling more coordinated group behavior for those who already harbor the meme. There is another important aspect to meme selection which a rises from the interrelatedness of genes and memes. Genes define to a large degree the psychological characteristics of humans. These, in turn, affect which memes will be successful in inhabiting the human mind. Religious memes often take advantage a human's awareness of his eventual death and the doubts that arise from the uncertainty of afterlife. Again, Bloom takes a good example from religions that make use of the concept of a Hell (i.e. Islam and Christianity). He emphasizes that their memes demand faith (a promise to keep the memes in one's mind forever) and threaten to send individuals to Hell if they don't comply (Bloom, 179). In addition, the concept of Heaven offers a positive reinforcement for keeping their faith.

adaptation: decision

With the rise of the human race, meme generation and selection exploded. The most fundamental ones among them are the concepts of responsibility, respect, freedom, fairness, ethics and rights. The principal root or cause of these ideas may well have been our self-consciousness. The perception of oneself as a separate and distinct entity causes the feeling of a dichotomy between oneself and nature. This dichotomy equipped human with a powerful and dangerous ability that would revolutionize meme competition. It was the ability to consciously decide. One may wonder if it makes any difference whether our decisions are conscious or unconscious. The most I can say is that self-reference by itself (whether or not it implies consciousness) is essential for most of the memes that have emerged along with human civilization. Since I assume that my readers are conscious, I will make frequent use of the tool of introspection to help us more easily understand the origins and functions of the new memes.

why memes are controlled

The most important implication of decision-making has been its potential for creating a seemingly endless array of ideas, most of which would create harm or waste if they were not carefully selected for. To see how this holds true, recall the ape throwing stones at a tree. He had learned a simple game that helped hone his aim. His mind may have easily been able to invent a number of variations of the game such as throwing them at his friends or throwing them with his eyes closed. That most such ideas should be detrimental is just to say that they are random. Just as random mutations are most likely dangerous for the survival of genes, so is wild experimentation for the survival of memes.

how memes are controlled

Natural selection takes care of the problem quite simply. It limits the number of mutations to a few at a time for each generation. Human history has shown that an analogous mechanism has been at work for meme selection: Conform to traditions and what has worked in the past and let the occasional freak make the risky moves that might lead to progress. What human history has also shown is that memes have ensured their viability through a strategy that goes beyond random experimentation. The power of reason has been to aid decision-making by producing certain or probable explanations and predictions, making it the key factor that created the new stage of competition. But reason had only limited success in overcoming the evolution by adaptation because it had to compete with various other mechanisms that helped to check unbrideled decision-making. Before the advent of either reason or decision-making a variety of such mechanisms were already in place that were suitable for curbing the spread of dangerous ideas. Fear, pain, submission, or lethargy have specifically evolved to help us stay away from danger or avoid unneeded action. When humans began to consciously perceive and decide, reason developed along with a variety of new emotions and memes. To understand how the evolution of memes were influenced by these factors I will recount a historical overview of their development.

the hierarchy

Any species that lives in groups faces a fundamental dilemma. Any individual's chances of passing on its genes are improved the more advantages it can seize over its group-members. The group's survival is enhanced the more its internal strife is reduced. The two opposing forces have led for various animal species to an equilibrium power structure called the hierarchy.

animal hierarchy

In a typical animal hierarchy, the advantages of being on top are food and sex privileges. By default, the best fighters can assert themselves by fighting off the rest. The weaker animal is wise to submit rather than repeatedly take on a stronger opponent. The stronger animal does not gain a significant advantage by killing a weaker one. The advantage would be the elimination of competition. This may help because males may sneak in on females while a male leader is not watching or because younger animals have the potential of growing stronger and challenging those on top. But this type of behavior is not selected for. One reason is that the hierarchy is structured such that the advantages gained by killing one's competition is small. If a dominant male gets to father most of the children that's all that counts for him. Being toppled from his top position by a young animal that grew strong tends not to be a serious threat because he will most likely be past his prime years. (The reason why we grow old is likely to be that the gene selects strictly for traits that are most likely to pass it on. This means that traits of the younger organism are selected for more since the younger organism is more likely to be alive than an older one. As long as one is assured procreation during one's prime years, selection for the traits that made this possible is guaranteed. This is the main concern of the gene.) Another reason is that if such behavior ever was selected for in a particular tribe it would quickly lead to a deficiency in young offspring and hence the self-destruction for that tribe.

human hiearchy

For human hierarchies physical strength was de-emphasized as a result of the variety of ideas that began to shape their structure . Humans come up with freak ideas that easily upset the equilibrium of a hierarchy. The key to stabilization was meme control. Several million years ago our ancestors, homo habilis and homo erectus, lived in tight social groups as hunter-gatherers. They continued to live in this manner until long after the emergence of modern man. In such groups, we were able to better our position within the hierarchy with traits such as ambition, greed, and deceitfulness. To keep us from the danger of being an outcast our genes equipped us with a tendency to conform and with a need to feel part of a group. But to keep our potential for dangerous behavior in check a radically new mechanism evolved called the code of conduct, or ethics. A code of conduct works by defining particular actions as either good or bad. Good actions are praised and rewarded. Bad actions meet with disapproval, punishment, or downright ostracism. For such a code to work well we need two things. One is a sense of responsibility and the other a shared view of what's right and wrong.


For us to feel that we are responsible three crucial factors are necessary. The first arises from being aware of ourselves as a distinct entities. We can recall a past act and picture ourselves having acted differently. We are thus convinced that we had a choice. Our self-awareness also allows us to imagine taking several different actions in the future. The combination of these two abilities form the prerequisites for us to feel that we decide.

The second factor is the habit of dichotomizing various actions or ideas into those that are right and those that are wrong. Thinking of something as right or wrong is a meme since conceivably we can think of anything as either right, wrong, or neither.

The final factor involves the ability to feel guilt and shame. We associate a wrong deed with the fact that there was a choice and feel guilty or ashamed. This punishes us. We also foresee the guilt we would feel for a hypothetical act we commit in the future . This deters us. Responsibility thus works as a highly effective mechanism for making us keep rules.

agreement over right and wrong

Any system of rules that humans set up is highly fexlible in one regard. The rules themselves are memes and can conceivably be altered on a moment's notice. But why is it likely for a consensus to ever be achieved and maintained? As to how it is achieved, I reply that it was a default condition among early tribes. When decision-making and creative thinking were still in their infancy, most people agreed on things. The way things were was reasonable enough for them. If some person thought he could gain authoritative power over others this was bound to fail since the majority would agree that this was highly inappropriate. Only as more ideas were introduced into tribes did agreement over them start to become a problem. One way of keeping the stability was that humans could understand that they benefit if others don't do to them what they are forbidden to do to others. Another facilitating factor has been that a majority opinion tends to stick around, for if we hear an idea repeated all the time and without any objections to it, we will come to regard it as an obvious truth. In conjunction with the code of conduct (whether explicit or implicit) the hierarchy was thus held in check.


Aside from authority and its system of reward and punishment, humans developed a more subtle means of enforcing ethics. It is best labeled an emotion intended for admonishing less serious offenses and it also facilitates the promulgation of ethics through hypothetical examples called jokes. Humor is mostly an emotion that tells us, don' t take this seriously; this is totally inappropriate or dumb. Its function is always didactive, and in many cases addresses ethical rules. Children, for example, will laugh untiringly over simplistic idiot jokes (revealing the stupidity of various types of behavior), sexual or vulgar joke s (revealing the inappropriateness of the subjects), and breaches in the way that things are "supposed to be." Adults laugh over the same subjects, but have advanced to reaffirming these values through more subtle means.

A colleague of mine recently remarked of an overweight rat that was being trained for an experiment, "somebody has to go on a diet". The function of my laughter in this instance was to affirm that the rat was to be ashamed of being overweight since we agree that a good rat ought to be near 80% of his free feeding weight. The joke is doubly humurous because the statement itself is inappropriate as the rat cannot be expected to understand the phrase.

In another instance, I observed one colleague ridicule another. Upon discovering a hole behind the collar of one colleague's shirt, the other jokingly referred to the cloth as "flimsy", lifted the shirt slightly with his hand, and suggested that we "hang him up on the wall" with it. The joke was quite successful with several bystanders who were present, but its analysis is slightly complicated. First, the joke implicitly affirmed the idea that material objects indicate your status; it essentially said, "You will not be accepted in our circle unless you wear quality brand clothing." Second, the very picture of hanging a person up on a wall is not serious. This is funny because hanging up a shirt by itself would be normal--there is a need to affirm that it's not meant seriously to hang up a person along with it. Another reason why the joke might be perceived as funny is that the act of ridiculing another for a superficial quality as their clothing is inappropriate, but this doesn't work for moral education unless there is a widespread custom for laughing at inapproriate jokes. (This is actually what I thought of the joke, but the reason why I laughed at it was because in a group environment I always tend to laugh or not laugh according to what the others do. The ease with which I laugh at jokes simply because others do seems to indicate to me the great power they have in enforcing a mostly hidden realm of ethics.)

Today, I heard someone say, "What's that T-shirt? National Student Association?", "Yeah," "What is that? Some kind of Communist thing?", "Yeah, that's where we get together to blow up this place. The first moral here is that Communism is to be looked down upon (it has after all failed). The second reaffirms that terrorism is a bad thing and that we are supposed to be loyal to our place.

summary of meme control

To summarize, the ability to decide has led to a surge in meme generation and selection. Because their spread was so effective, a combination of memes and genes checked their growth. The major contribution of the meme was the idea of good and bad. Genes contributed through the emotions of guilt, embarrassment and humor, providing the other key foundations of ethics. On the other hand, the spread of ideas was encouraged through curiosity, making us eager to learn and play with objects and ideas. Genes also lengthened our period of childhood in which to acquire and explore various ideas. The overall emphasis of selection sh ifted from genes to memes.


One of the consequences of this shift has been the evolution of myth, folklore, and religion. Self-consciousness made possible the inquiry into an array of puzzling philosophical questions including the beginning and end of the world, life after death, the causes of natural phenomena, and the purpose of life. The attempt to find answers to them has no immediate advantages to offer to aid in a people's survival. Yet every society or tribe we know today seems to have developed a philosophy that addresses these questions.

There is a good reason why these questions may have motivated us to seek answers. Philosophy provides the basis of our cumulative knowledge and ideas. Whether or not certain answers can be found for the questions I posed, the way we think about them affects every aspect of our lives. If my philosophy tells me that my life is meaningless, I may become lazy, lackadaisical, and possibly suicidal. If it tells me that the preservation of our species is an important concern I may decide to pursue various ways of helping realize this goal. Philosophy therefore controls us, and it takes only one person to invent a philosophic meme to control us, and it will replicate for as long as there are no challengers.

One approach to dealing with philosophical inquiry would be to dismiss it as irrelevant, to tag them as unanswerable or forever uncertain, or to categorically condemn them as evil. People might spread views such as "It cannot be known", or "There is no point in discussing it." The early evolution of philosophical memes may have resembled that of an emerging market. In a time when philosophical ideas were still uninteresting or unknown it would not have taken much assertiveness or talkativeness for a few humans of a tribe to establish an oligopoly of a few leading ideas. People may not have paid very much attention to it, but the memes survival was assured by the sheer fact that they were the only ones around with nothing to challege them. The more competitive memes were those that provided the more creative, entertaining, well-reasoned, and plausible explanations. To gain favor, ideas needed to be clearly understandable; that is, concrete and easily related to human experience. The more prolific and assertive presentations would win out over more in-depth, critical inquiries leading to tentative conclusions. For one thing, investing too much time in thinking gets less market share because ideas need to be quickly brought to the market in order and repeated as much as possible in order to succeed. Another consideration is that complicated or ambiguous conclusions are harder to remember, slow to pass on, and simply have no chance of surviving next to ideas that are specifically designed to stimulate human emotions. In other words, humor, anger, depictions of injustice, or fear are dominant, or competitive under nonchanging circumstances. Conversely, serenity, serious reflection, or impartiality are bound to lose out in the meme competition. In addition, tentativeness is harder to defend than alleged certainty since it is essentially admitting that one's ideas are not valid. Truth is equivalent to consistency in observation. Thus, we know that an object that always fall down will continue to do so. We know that words used in the same way have a particular meaning. And inevitably, myths that are repeated often enough will establish themselves as truth. For these reasons, folklore and religion tend to give vivid creative stories rationalizing their conclusions and declaring themselves as the absolute truth.


Through what probably resembled random experimentation, early societies acquired a growing set of tools. The relatively slow rate of progress suggests that over a few generations the conditions of life remained largely the same. For an individual, this meant he would perceive the natural state of the world to be constant. Societies were safe in the assumption that the safe path to take was passing on traditions that had worked well in the past. In general, anything new was likely to be dangerous. The gains of individual innovations were too small to select for the dangerous attitudes of rapid change and unorthodoxy. The dominant virtue of societies was conformity. In its initial stage, technology thus evolved blindly. We may assume that humans were wise enough to keep the tools they knew were useful and interchange or copy technologies through interaction with other tribes. The importance of doing so is illustrated through Tasmania's history. This island which lies south of Australia has been isolated for more than 20,000 years at a time in between ice ages. Since the most recent ice age a population of 5000 Tasmanians have lived isolated on the island until the arrival of European settlers. During that period, it was found that the Tasmanians seemed to have regressed more than they progressed. For one thing, there exists conclusive evidence to show that Tasmanians abandoned the use of bone tools which were primarily useful for sewing clothes. In addition, they discontinued eating fish (despite eating other types of seafood). (See Diamond, Jared. "Ten Thousand years of Solitude." Discover, March 1993.)

modern society: fairness

The invention of farming around 6000 B.C. marked the inception of modern society. Since then, the evolution of social structures has gradually selected for the more stable types of organizations characterized by decreasing violence and increasing conformity. Regardless of the type of social hiearchy, the key to realizing this trend has been to appeal to people's sense of fairness. Fairness is an ethical principle that says "We agree to play according to the rules of the game provided everybody else does the same." If the rules are reasonable and as long as no one breaks them, everything seems fair. This greatly facilitates maintaining a concensus on ethics or rules.

The earliest known societies already implemented sophisticated and very fair codes of conduct to curb excessive hierarchical competition. In 1000-2000 B.C. Mesopotamia used a centralized legal system that issued severe punishments such death or the loss of a hand for breaking a large number of laws. Some of the laws that appealed to fairness most effectively were prohibiting trades that did not involve goods or services of sound quality, punishing theft, allowing inflicted physical injuries to be avenged to the same degree (i.e. "an eye for an eye" or "a tooth for a tooth" ), and allowing slaves who had earned enough money (by honest means) to buy their freedom (McKay).

Even today, our laws operate based on the same emphasis of fairness. The noticeable difference is the great protection against physical pain or injury we offer to people regardless of the nature of their crimes. We tend not to divide people into distinct classes for whom laws differ and we have actually achieved a much lesser rate of crime than any previous era. These particular developments are indicative of an increasingly fair and just world. They have their roots in the shift that has occured in the social power structure.

wealth and luxury

Increasingly, power within a hierarchy came to depend upon wealth. Not only did the trend toward specialization of labor produce greater amounts of goods, but the specialization itself made people within a society more and more interdependent. We thus rely on our large society for survival and wealth provides the stuff we need to survive. Human societies have tended to heavily rely on a broad hierarchical structure ranging from the very rich to the very poor. They are stable as long as people remain concerned with securing their own particular place in the hierarchy rather than teaming up with those in their same position to undermine it.

An increase in overall wealth combined with the continual struggle to remain better off than others has led to the growth and spread of luxury. Consider an individual who is able to produce more than he really needs. He now has a surplus which he somehow needs to keep to himself, so that others who do so won't have an advantage over him. The surplus doesn't quite have a value for him except that he can use it to pay others for working for him so that he may increase his riches even further. Keeping resources from others is an excellent way of furthering one's viability, and it is helpful to think of those extra resources as desirable. The power of those resources would have remained limited as long as only useful products were considered valuable. But the realm of material objects or luxurious services proved to be another major emerging market; it was able to create an illusion of fictitious value that would greatly enhance the power of wealth.

This arose because as humans acquired more and more free time there was no obvious choice of what to do with it. Aside from vital communication, some created imaginary stories in the form of folklore and religion, which were selected for according to their persuasive power. Aside from making useful tools, some created artistic ones that were selected for according their aesthetic appeal. Aside from engaging in purposeful activity, some created rituals that were selected for according to their entertainment value. A portion of each of these markets evolved into things that could be sold. The very fact that it attracted attention gave them a value that could be measured in terms of money.

power of wealth over people

By considering useless things valuable, we set the stage for wealth that could have control over people. The more society's wealth grew, the more it squandered it by producing a variety of goods and services carefully selected for according to their ability to attract people's attention and appeal to their immediate wants. It is not so much the contrived value of historic art pieces that routinely sell for millions or the value of "precious" metals that distort the concept of value. They are, after all, mediums of exchange analogous to money. It is rather all the effort and resources that goes into creating, for example, popular novels and movies. Every new novel or movie seeks to recreate essentially the same plot, which are those that have proven to be profitable through past experience. The consumer is forced to think its thoughts and to want more of it while paying for it in the process. The same phenomenon is at work for professional sports, music, most types of restaurants and food products, clothing, and cosmetics. A simple change in our attitudes would destroy these markets. One can imagine the elimination of cars, of personal computers, of real estate agents, or of universities (nearly any one specific aspect of society), solely based on a change in what we value.

decreasing violence and force

Since any drastic change in the economy seems to be bad inasmuch as it upsets the precarious balance of the demand and supply for employment, we hope it won't happen and will try to keep things constant. The increasing materialism of human cultures led to a great increase in our standard of living. Being deprived of less, humans had less need and less urge to resort to violence. Life became more peaceful and within a more peaceful environment humans were more likely to acquire calm and unoppressive traits. This marked a trend toward fairness because if people do not feel they are being wronged they will stick to the rules society imposes on them. Consequently, the use of violence in disciplining people slowly disappeared in industrial nations. Religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, and Buddhism spread the ethical principle that one should not (physically) hurt anyone as an irreducible value.

competitive pressure as the key factor in past and present-day evolution

In previous times, the life of one generation mostly ressembled that of the next, the individual perceived the natural state of the world to be constant. From this viewpoint, the safe path to take was to pass on the tradition that had worked well in the past. Whatever individuals did, they did not perceive of themselves as creators of fundamental change in society. As inventors and scientists, they tended to think of their role as separate entities working within an unchanging environment. To most people, the end of their own lives marked also the horizon beyond which they saw no need to concern themselves.

Consequently, the only means societies had of remaining competitive was by adapting to new circumstances. In Hellenistic Greece, the war with the Romans pressured scientists to concoct new weaponry. That it was pressure rather than foresight and strategy that instigated this development is shown by the fact that the same scientists did not seek innovations in their basic industry. A history textbook remarks: Despite its undeniable brilliance, Hellenistic science suffered from a remarkable weakness almost impossible for practical-minded Americains to understand. Although scientists of this period invented such machines as the air gun, the water organ, and even the steam engine, they never used their discoveries as labor-saving devices {McKay, p.160)

China is another interesting example because it developed such key technolog ies as cast iron, gun powder, and paper hundreds of years before anyone else. Had there been an inherent drive within them to keep going, they would have spurted ahead. Instead, Great Britain emerged as the new leader on the world scene through the industrial revolution. After conquering half of the world Britain faced strong competition, but failed to feel direct pressure to improve its basic technology. The empire waned. Both economic markets and wars have acted as the primary selective and pressuring mechanisms, weeding out poorly organized or inefficient businesses and nations or threatening to eliminate them. The presence of competitive threats has encouraged innovations and high productivity, while its absence unfailingly led to stagnation or deterioration.


Although humans have clearly developed the ability to decide, we find ourselves unquestionably in the adaptive stage of competition. This can be proved using an obvious fact: Contemporary society does not pursue a goal.