There is a whole debate about individualism. About how we give up parts of ourselves to fit in to the group.
This thing about adapting to the group is of course about survival – the group needs to function as a whole to survive. The best example in the mammal world are killer whales. they have developed “cultures” to be able to live where they do eg some living off seals, some eating small fishes, some hunting tuna. In these cases – playfulness adn experimentation, communication and group learning are all at the base of this culture development. so you could say that the difference, the play, the experimentation is important to learn new things – like when whales learned to follow fishing boats (equipped with sonar and after their food) and get there first. On the other hand learnign to act like a group is essential for survival.
In Brave new world and Brave new world revisited Aldous Huxley says the development of man moving to cities, being surrounded by a vast interconnecting system of technical infrastructure, was driving a development, albeit coming from the good purpose of ORDER, to turn people into insects Insects all act in exactly the same way and if they do not they get killed by the others. He sees civilisation as a giant termite stack of unhappy people.
So I agree with you Dave, it IS an important subject – it is not oil peaking or community gardens that will see manking through the next decade but development of a culture appropriate to
- the earth we live on
- our bodies in terms of organisms
- the reason we are here