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Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution (Forgotten Books) Paperback – October 15, 2008
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Top Customer Reviews
Now it is important to note what Kropotkin does not say in order to best understand what he does say. He is not talking about the competition that exists among various species. That exists and is a factor in evolution. He is talking about competition within the same species. According to Kropotkin, competition within a species is the rare exception and not the norm in the animal kingdom and, with the exception of a few species, when it does occur within a species, it is usually under the most exigent of circumstances (e.g. scarcity of food). The norm for most species under most of their circumstances is a quasi-cooperative relationship of sociability and mutual aid. The less completion and the more mutual aid a species exemplifies, the better off that species is evolutionarily:
"The animal species, in which individual struggle has been reduced to its narrowest limits, and the practice of mutual aid has attained the greatest development, are invariably the most numerous, the most prosperous, and the most open to further progress.Read more ›
Kropotkin stresses that cooperation is the main factor in evolution, not competing forces that Darwin and his contemporaries thought.
Kropotkin gives a number of examples of inter and intra-species working together to survive and thus evolve.
Kropotkin explores a number of societies. Steven J. Gould has given credence to Kropotkin, yet he is largely ignored in evolution texts.
This book changed the way I think about evolution and helped me to realize how a study as influencial as Darwin's could be biased.
Like Darwin, Kropotkin was intellectually stimulated by his observations in natural philosophy - but in exactly the opposite direction.
I recommend "Mutual Aid" to anyone exhausted by the competitve paradigm and looking for a valid alternative.
I'm writing this after ordering two more copies of MA - one to replace the one I lost, another to lend.
Eric C. Sanders
Much of his thinking on the nature of society was formed when he was observing the behavior of animals in Siberia. While assigned to a Siberian regiment of the Russian military, Kropotkin did innovative original work on geography and geology as well as the study of animal behavior. His observation of animals led him to respond to Huxley's assertion that natural selection was based on keen com¬petition among animals with the following statement: ". . .wherever I saw animal life in abundance, as, for instance, on the lakes where scores of species and millions of individuals came together to rear their progeny; in the colonies of rodents; in the migration of birds which took place at that time on a truly American scale along the Usuri; and especially in a migration of fallow-deer which I witnessed on the Amur, and during which scores of thousands of these animals came together from an immense territory, flying before the coming snow, in order to cross the Amur where it is narrowest--in all these scenes of animal life which passed before my eyes, I saw Mutual Aid and Mutual Support carried on to an extent which made me suspect in it a feature of the greatest importance for the maintenance of life, the preservation of each species, and its further evolution.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Listen - this is a beautiful, generous, brilliant book - the words on the page are so fine. But the cover??? It's a pixelated image with an image copyright from Hampshire. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting book! One of the fathers of anarchism shows his naturalist side. With a detailed description of natural cases, Kropotkin makes the argument that cooperation is... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Andres
I used to have a prejudice against anarchists. Kropotkin was the first one to challenge that. This book is a highly sophisticated connection of the theory of evolution, of how... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Amazon Customer
SO much information about how mutual aid exists in nature, yet is overlooked in favor of a "fight to the death" concept. Read morePublished 14 months ago by J Reese
An old-fashioned classic. What a great experience this book is for me.Published 14 months ago by MJ
Well, I think he's wrong, even more tan I did in 1968, but an interesting and nice vision.Published 16 months ago by Amazon Customer