It is rare for any book to combine natural science with economics, but I
have brought these ostensibly disparate subjects together in my book, Junglenomics, because I believe I have something new and important to say about their relationship, and about how the consequences of that relationship profoundly impinge upon all our lives.
This book proposes a new theory – that Life is essentially a colonising
entity and that consequently many of its mechanisms have evolved
specifically to provide greater efficiency in the colonisation of the
Earth’s resources. It tells the story of a journey into the depths of
the evolutionary process in search of evidence of this impulse to
colonise, and goes on to explore its consequences in evolution, in human
development, and most importantly in our modern economic world.
Although it was not always so, it is these days extremely unusual for a
non-academic writer like myself to enter arenas that have become the almost exclusive
preserve of academics; although some unqualified science and ecology
writers do sometimes make significant contributions, I think it is fair
to say that new ideas of any great consequence are no longer expected
from any other quarter. However I have always been intrigued by the big
questions of evolution, nature and human nature, and my instinct has
always been to look behind the scene – to search for answers at a deeper
level. The germ for this book arose because, although a firm follower of
Charles Darwin’s sublime explanation of evolution through variation and
natural selection, I was never satisfied of its completeness. Despite
subsequent expansion on the great man’s original theme in the light of
new knowledge I was convinced that there was still important ‘dark
matter’ in the evolutionary process yet to be uncovered. My particular
focus was on catalysts of evolutionary change and how they might
Following an extraordinary maritime adventure Darwin, an amateur
naturalist, allowed free rein to his intellect and imagination
concerning the observable workings of nature unrestrained by the
orthodoxy of his day. Likewise untrammelled and free to take an oblique
view, some two decades ago I followed my own polar star and set out
alone in search of an unrecognised power source of evolution.
Eventually, incredibly, I believe I found it, in the form of a universal
colonisation imperative, and this transformed my perception, not just of
evolution, but also the very nature of Life.
The journey didn’t end there though. This new understanding of
evolution, and with it of human social and economic development, now
also opened a fresh and revealing window onto some of the major
unresolved issues of our day, in particular concerning our reckless
treatment of the natural environment. I had long been profoundly
disturbed by the remorseless decline of the world’s ecosystems and the
accompanying loss of species. I feared for the grim legacy of burned out
environments we are leaving future generations to endure. As I watched
the distressing degradation of our planet unfold I felt ever more
helpless and frustrated at the world’s impotence to arrest it despite so
many valiant efforts to do so. It was to me a profound mystery that we
continue to destroy our environment against our better judgement – even
against our collective will. Two paradoxes characterize this: the first
is that, despite an environmental movement that has never been more
sophisticated, well-financed and influential, the world environment
continues to decline year on year. The second is that while so many
people express concern for Nature, they themselves continue to destroy it.
I decided to try to understand what was going on from an evolutionary
standpoint. I wanted above all to find meaning behind this destructive
phenomenon and our continuing failure to control it. Thus I began to
look into the issues surrounding the decline of the natural world in the
face of today’s onslaught from economic hyperactivity within the context
of the colonisation imperative.
This book thus provides a new perspective on evolution and links it to
the anthropological reasons behind our environmental failings. I believe
this perspective could help the formulation of a blueprint to manage our
threatened planet a great deal better, not only for the immediate but
also for the long term future. It therefore makes essential reading for
those interested or involved in conservation, evolution, anthropology
and economics, but especially for those upon whose future decisions the
world environment relies.
The issues explored in these pages are fundamental ones that I believe
anyone with an intelligent, inquiring mind will be stirred by. The ideas
presented are big, bold and ambitious, certainly, but they are firmly
built upon first principles of evolution, anthropology and market
economics. I believe passionately in them and in the vision they offer
to help build a safer future for generations to come.
Author’s note: this preface serves by way of an icebreaker for future blogs on this website. Junglenomics is a completed book and I am at the moment awaiting responses from various publishers. Harper Collins has expressed considerable interest, but there are no guarantees. I will report on progress, and on the possible eventual need to use a private pubishing platform – ie I will self-publish if necesary.
I will be writing on this and related subjects here and printing extracts from the book over the coming weeks and months. I invite constructive comments. my knowledge of blogging is at a fledgling stage so please bear with me as I explore the possibilities.