Survival of the fittest means the fittest to integrate into Nature’s system
Question from the Internet:
“How can evolutionary theory of “survival of the fittest” account for the fact that altruism is so widespread in nature?”
You are completely right. Our interpretation of “survival of the fittest" meaning “survival of the strongest/most cruel" is one of our greatest misunderstanding.
It is also an instinctive self-justification, justifying our own egocentric, selfish, exploitative behaviour that dominated Human history and still serves as the foundation of Human society.
The true interpretation of “survival of the fittest" according to Nature's laws is “the fittest to integrate". Nature is a fully integrated, interdependent system.
Which means that only those elements, parts of Nature can survive that can seamlessly integrate into the system through altruistic, mutually complementing, mutually responsible interaction, cooperation.
We can clearly see this in our own biological body, where all the cells, organs exist, make calculations only for the general well-being, health, survival of the whole body.
In our generation we can finally see how much with our inherently “cancer-like", unnatural, overconsuming and ruthlessly competitive behaviour we drive ourselves towards unsolvable crisis, seemingly inevitable self-destruction.
So we will have no other choice but to use our unique Human intellect — capable of critical self-assessment, initiating self-change, refinement —to guide us through adapting ourselves to Nature's integral template. If we want to survive we have to do it together with Nature's evolution — towards an ever more integrated, mutually cooperating system.