Friday, May 29, 2009

Mutual aid

Well I never, Kropotkin may have got it right according to this research.
Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans.
And here is Kropotkin writing in in his last, unfinished book, Ethics: Origin and Development.
Our primitive ancestors lived with the animals, in the midst of them. And as soon as they began to bring some order into their observations of nature, and to transmit them to posterity, the animals and their life supplied them with the chief materials for their unwritten encyclopaedia of knowledge, as well as for their wisdom, which they expressed in proverbs or sayings...

And if we, with all our book learning, and our ignorance of nature, feel unable to understand how animals scattered over a wide territory manage to gather in thousands at a given spot to cross a river ... or to begin their march north, south, or west, our ancestors, who considered the animals wiser than themselves, were not in the least astonished by such concerted actions... For them, all the animals were in continual communication ... thus constituting one vast community, which had its own rules of propriety and good neighbourly relations. Even to-day deep traces of that conception of nature survive in the folklore of all nations.
Kropotkin was a natural scientist as well as an Anarchist, viewing the development of human ethics as part of a process of social evolution in interaction with the natural environment. In other words, he felt that we learnt the instinct for mutual aid from animals.

Via Norm

1 comment:

DorsetDipper said...

"morals are "hard-wired" into the brains of all mammals"

err ... doesn't morality imply choice?