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The downside of Darwinian survival of the fittest is that the application of the concept fittest is always based on the now instant of time. The fittest members of a species are those who have always survived every instant, especially when these individuals are in competition with the other members of their species for identical resources. Almost all the time there is a reasonable supply of resources, and a species’ members live in a protective harmony with each other by defining personal territory, but with most species there will be occasions, perhaps seasonal, where there is a short supply of resources, and then there will be a struggle among the species’ members, and a taking of the others’ personal resources. Sometimes the stressor on the species is a lack of food, sometimes a predator, or a disease, or a natural disaster, or in the case of humans a war or an economic shortfall. In all of these cases it is only those who physically survive the occasional momentary disasters who are alive to reproduce themselves. If the total species population is small, such as the human population of only a few thousand, as it was after the Mt. Toba eruption seventy thousand years ago, then the total genetic diversity will be small and homogeneous. Humanity can now survive these events with planning and preparation, even if they can’t predict the timing of their occurrence. There is always a large element of luck in these animal population reductions, but in the case of humans that is not always so true.

Humans have the capacity to store the valuable resources essential to their survival. That is usually measured in terms of ownership of property, and that is usually measured in money. However, as Machiavelli wrote in The Prince, “Men, arms, provisions and money are the sinews of war, and of these men and arms are the most valuable, for men and arms can always acquire money and provisions, but money and provisions can not always acquire men and arms.” That was written in 1516 AD, and is still true in short-term organized combat situations. However, up to a crisis situation those with stored resources are able to purchase and store those men and arms in the form of armies; thus it will be the richest people who will tend to survive. Of course there is another category of supplies that is available to forward-thinking people, and that will be found in the Life Havens and the EarthArks. In the grander scale of nations these genetic storage depots will cost almost nothing, but they will provide a source of human survival and the survival of many other species, too.

The main point here is that the human survivors of the future will be derived from those people who survived every instant of death-delivering environments between now and then. Back in the riots of the mid-1960s I created the slogan, “In a riot, the absence of body is superior to presence of mind.” However, I still reflexively follow Sir Francis Drake’s command to his flotilla of ship’s captains, “Steer for the sound of gunfire,” because that is where the pivotal changes that will affect the future are happening. Of course when you see the battle going on, try really hard not to get killed, or you won’t be one of the surviving fittest.

You and humanity must survive every deadly instant before your offspring can exist.