Anthropology - Other

What Survival of the Fittest Means

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"What Survival of the Fittest Means"
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Survival of the fittest is a Darwinian term. It means what it says: if you have an advantage over others, you will more likely propagate and your line will continue.  For males, strength, ability to provide, or even looks may cause more females to gravitate toward you looking for the perfect father for the children.  For females, looks, femininity, ability to care for a home, are some of the things men may look for in the perfect mate.  The answer to the attraction may even be a biological one related to pheromones or body shape.  Since we still have a lot of ugly people in the world, this doesn't seem to apply to humans.  However, here are a few characteristics of the 'fittest' person.

1.  Ability to adapt.  Those who adapt to the changing environment stand the strongest chance of survival.  We all have the gift of adaptation, but some do it better than others.  When circumstances change, the wise person will adapt.

2.  Strength.  The stronger male (or female) is more likely to survive.  This person has the ability to push through and protect self and others with his strength.  A weaker person (physically) will likely not survive the fight without help.

3.  Cunning.  The person who thinks on his or her feet has an advantage over the less cunning person.  The pertinent definition of Cunning, via, is:  "adeptness in performance; dexterity."  This term can have a negative connotation, but here we're talking about the ability to think through and make good decisions.

4.  Wisdom.  The wise person knows how to avoid harm.  A foolish person gravitates toward foolish things, making foolish decisions, and doesn't stand a good chance of survival in the world. 

5.  Looks.  You may disagree here, but looks absolutely help one to survive.   When we talk about looks, we don't just mean beauty, although that is important too.  Fortunately, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and is thus subjective.  Looks may include beauty, but is not limited to it.  It can be a body type, build, or size.  In other words, looks would be whatever the seeking mate believes will make healthy children.

Survival of the fittest is all well and good for the animal kingdom.  For human beings, however, many other factors come into play.  Humans have something called compassion that causes us to want to help the underdog instead of allowing him/her to fade out of the picture.  God placed this ability to adapt to circumstances in our lives within us, but He also gave us free will.  He gave us more than the animals, and expects us to help those who are weaker.  Our society proves this is so through all the social programs to help the less fortunate.  We have numerous charities; we have doctors and hospitals to help the sick; we have welfar and other social programs; we have something within us that makes us want to give a hand to others instead of worrying about our own survival to the exclusion of others.  This is one of the main things that makes human beings different from animals:  They have the intelligence to lend a hand up to those less fortunate and to realize it will not hurt our ability to survive to do so. 

More about this author: Angela S. Young

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