EO Wilson. In Memoriam

It’s impossible to summarize in a simple sentence the life and work of Edward Osborne Wilson. Brilliant, prolific, ackowledged, and inevitably controversial.

Sociobiology, consilience, eusociality, superorganisms, the Encyclopedia of Life, Half Earth… He is likely most cited by his seminal insight about our human condition: “We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.” You can find it at the very beginning of The Social Conquest of Earth.

In the prologue of the book, he states:

THERE IS NO GRAIL more elusive or precious in the life of the mind than the key to understanding the human condition…

And he chooses Paul Gauguin’s final struggle and seminal painting to illustrate our fight for meaning: D’où venons-nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous?

Paul Gauguin - D'ou venons-nous.jpg

To me, EO Wilson is one of those minds that, when you read it, makes you believe that it is possible to understand the game

Selfishness beats altruism within single groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups.

Everything else is commentary.

Ad astra, Mr. Wilson


Image, via NYT

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