Bare Bones Biology 317 – The Engine that Runs the Corposystem

Human interactions – human games* – human behaviors – are critical to human welfare. I try to surround myself with win-win “games*” and relationships, or better yet, win-win-win — a win for myself, a win for the community, and a win for our Mother Earth. But this is most often impossible within the corposystem* world view.

The corposystem, is not a person; it is a naturally evolved complex adaptive system*. The primary function of any naturally evolved system is to maintain itself, as defined by its emergent characteristics. The emergent characteristics of the corposystem can be described as “growth by domination for profit.” I call that the corposystem ethic, or worldview. It is not a win-win world view; it is about competition, that is, you win-I lose, or preferably I win-you lose.

The corposystem world view maintains itself by teaching us to believe in the domination ethic — competition/dominance/co-dependence/win-lose.

How does the corposystem maintain its toxic win-lose ethic?   By programming us.

Our human world views are largely programmed into us as children, by our environments. Our corposystem environment teaches humans, from the cradle to the grave, to play “win-lose” domination “games” in order to achieve whatever we want. (For an example, just turn on any TV program and watch for an hour or two.)  Cradle to grave.

And in spite of the common belief that humans have: “always been this way,” apparently we have not. Humans have been around for 40,000 years or more, most of that time apparently living in communal groups with relationships of the sort that D. Eisler* refers to as the “partnership model” that stresses collaboration over competition.

Around 3500 BC, with the development of modern cities,*(Newitz) humans evolved what Eisler refers to as a “dominator” social organization that stresses hierarchical relationships, competition, and with competition of course comes win-lose relationships.

And then we took over the world.

Engine-corposystNow, about 5500 years later, our corposystem justifies its “domination/competitive” model by using it to accomplish “beneficial” goals to balance the hostile ones. The “good guys” are in constant conflict with the ”bad guys,” and many in both camps believe themselves to be “saving” us all.

Saving us from what? We are not being saved; we are not even winning. In fact, with every turn of the wheel the competition between the good guys and the bad guys creates more victims.

It is the corposystem itself – which is not a person, but a complex adaptive system – that wins — no matter what win-lose game we people are playing. Whether it be domination by non-violence); or by willful ignorance;* or by a whole array of ritualized co-dependent behaviors that include withholding (whatever the other needs or wants); or by competition in sports and business and social life; or by class distinctions; or by gangs; or by military flyovers; or by brute physical force, or by the ultimate humiliation of a presidential candidate who defends his ignorance with win-lose theatrics.

Every kind of win-lose game serves to benefit the corposystem while it causes harm to the majority of humans on this living earth and increases the numbers of human and nonhuman victims. And for this reason, I call this human “good guy/bad guy/victim” game, the win-lose game, the Engine that Runs the Corposystem.

And while the good guys are blaming the bad guys and the women are blaming the men and the people of color blame the people without color — all of them are actually working to strengthen the system they deplore because nobody is blaming the hierarchical, co-dependent competition SOCIAL MODEL that is the cause of the problem, and this would all be just good fun except that every turn of that wheel — even by the good guys — creates proportionally more victims now, and especially in the future, than ever before existed. In this system we live off the victims we create.

Well, call me a loser, but I’m not playing that game anymore.

I was pretty good at it, .

But win-win is more fun;

And win-win-win is a real accomplishment.



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*Eric Berne, 1996. Games People Play.

*The international corporate-economic social system that is currently our dominant human social system.

*A system is a group of things and processes that are linked together to perform a particular function(s). Thus a car is a system, I am a system, the Biosystem, a molecule, a cell, all can be seen as systems that are composed of subsystems and exist within environmental systems. An adaptive system is characterized by the ability to respond to its environment in order to perform that function. A complex adaptive system is characterized by emergent properties that facilitate the interaction with its environment. There are some good definitions on the web now.

*Riane Eisler, 1987. The Chalice and the Blade.

*Win-win games, for example: Win-Win Games for All Ages: Co-operative Activities for Building Social Skills Paperback – 2002by Sambhava Luvmour (Author), Josette Luvmour (Author)

*Annalee Newitz, PhD. 2016. The Urban Species: How Domesticated Humans Evolved,. Lecture at Santa Fe Institute. /



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