Yesterday we spoke of Physicist Geoffrey West’s work of applying the concepts of power law to that of the development and operation of cities and with this mentioned that several ideas were generated from his talk. As we spoke yesterday of the concepts of “corporate cannibalization” where cooperative elements are self consumed for short term gain meaning a violation of the power law model and therefore untimely demise for corporate constructs verses that of their city counter parts as our waxing was both were made of people so therefore “both” should operate in the same manner logically. Yet the physical realities do not play out to be the same which leaves us to scratch our heads why.
It’s here where my mind raced back to our old friend that I like to visit when in London by the name of Charles Darwin (his tomb is in the floor of Westminster Abby within sight of Newton’s) as his concepts of the “strong survive” have always fascinated me as what does this mean, what is “strong” and from a systems think perspective what does this really mean? Also how does it fit into Cities and corporation as like the laws of physics are to the natural worlds so are the laws of evolution to the anthropological realm.
So let’s look at what “strong” is and therefore what “weak” could be and how they interact with each other as both play a role in fulfilling the curve created by the power law. As obviously one of the key attributes of being is not falling prey either literally as in becoming dinner for say a bear, or situational as in grabbing that pit viper by the tail is bad idea. Yet on the other side you too must survive and therefore you must be able to out maneuver your prey either by cunning or prowess.
As you may have got the point this forms an interesting loop in that by a avoiding being the “prey” means you “win” and the critter that was to prey on you “loses”. Then as you capture your prey and roast it on the Barbie, your are also the “winner” and your “prey” the “loser” so you’re a double winner while the world is a double “loser” and thus you play forward and are allowed to reproduce propagating the survival of the fittest or maybe the luckiest.
What becomes interesting here is this double win/lose scenario is an unlikely one statistically on an individual basis yet it becomes far more plausible when viewed as a cooperative group and one of the reasons you see “herding” as a common feature in many “feed animals” as in masses their chances for a first win is far better and by the way this is a far more important win. As if you become “prey”, there is no reason (read as ability) for you to “prey” other things thus an order of operations forms out of the seemly chaotic act thus a societal building block is created out of this basic element.
So the next time you are running for the bus, train or plane you simply have to remember you just have to run faster than the next guys to win…