Letter to the editor: Deception goes hand in hand with competition
“One of the most important things to realize about systems of animal communication is that they are not systems for the dissemination of the truth.”
The stage was set for the evolution of competition soon after competent reproduction was established by Earth’s first simple organisms some 3.5 billion years ago. Since that time, life on Earth has evolved a myriad of means to gain essential resources. All organisms must compete — either within species or between species.
A common component of competition is deception. Camouflage is a familiar, but by no means only, example of deception. Humans are exceptionally good at deception, as a little ratiocination demonstrates.
Political rhetoric is rife with deception. Politicians will say, or do, almost anything to curry favor with voters. This has been made painfully clear in the current election cycle.
Ayn Rand, American author and political commentator, developed a social theory termed, “Enlightened Self Interest.” Simply put, society benefits most when individuals act in their own self-interest. In order for Rand’s philosophy to work, all human interactions must be unerringly truthful. Disputes between individuals or institutions can be solved by Aristotelian logic. There are no shades of gray, only black and white; “A is A.”
Rand’s philosophy is not even a theoretical possibility. Humans are born to deceive. Deception is as much a part of our DNA as, say, eye color. Deception is the handmaiden of competition and together they have evolved for billions of years reaching their zenith in humankind. We can no more shed deception than we can any other deep genetic trait.
“Who is John Galt?” John Galt is a fictional character in a ponderous tome that fails to prove the perfection of capitalism. Nothing more.
John Jenkins, PhD
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