The Red Queen

The Red Queen is a long, hard look at human nature. It reminds us that in spite of our skyscrapers and space rockets, we humans are still, deep down, naked apes with animal instincts and desires.

The most base desire we (as a species and as individuals) have is for immortality – genetic immortality, creative immortality or intellectual immortality (or preferably all of the above) – we want to be remembered or to have some part of our mind, body or soul last forever, or at least beyond our natural lifetimes. The Red Queen illustrates how the best way to achieve genetic immortality is through a combination of competition and coordination. Competition within our peer group (species) and coordination with our peer group against external enemies.

This dance, this dynamic tension between cooperation and conflict is in many ways the defining human condition. It cuts through our interpersonal relationships and scales all the way up to our economic polices (welfare and warfare) and geopolitical alliances. We need each other to survive, but we cannot trust our own lives to the group alone…

I recommend for anyone interested in behavioural economics, philosophy, psychology, politics – or sex.

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