Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

November 5, 2013

Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution

I was very taken with this, the cover of a Catalan-language edition of Peter Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, taken from here (a site that seems to have a mainly pornographic orientation, so be warned). Here’s an extract from Kropotkin’s Introduction to the book:

When Eckermann told once to Goethe – it was in 1827 – that two little wren-fledglings, which had run away from him, were found by him next day in the nest of robin redbreasts (Rothkehlchen), which fed the little ones, together with their own youngsters, Goethe grew quite excited about this fact. He saw in it a confirmation of his pantheistic views, and said: – “If it be true that this feeding of a stranger goes through all Nature as something having the character of a general law – then many an enigma would be solved.”

I have to admit that, while I possess a copy of it, I’ve not read it. Paul Mattick describes the book as ‘an important study of animal behavior and of the evolution of human sociality’. Although ‘under the spell of Darwinism, Kropotkin wished to correct its capitalistically-determined one-sided interpretation, which saw only competition and not the far more important factor of mutual aid as the instrument of survival’ (From here).

Posted on a blustery day when I counted forty-six Brent Geese bobbing up and down on the choppy waters of Tipner Lake.


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