In the merciless arena of life, we are all subject to the law of the jungle, to ruthless competition and the survival of the fittest – such is the myth that has given rise to a society that has become toxic for our planet and for our and future generations.
But today the lines are shifting. A growing number of new movements and thinkers are challenging this skewed view of the world and reviving words such as 'altruism', 'cooperation', 'kindness' and 'solidarity'. A close look at the wide spectrum of living beings reveals that, at all times and in all places, animals, plants, microorganisms and human beings have practised different forms of mutual aid. And those who survive difficult conditions best are not necessarily the strongest, but those who help each other the most.
Pablo Servigne and Gauthier Chapelle explore a vast, forgotten continent of mutual aid in order to discover the mechanisms of this 'other law of the jungle'. In so doing, they provide a more rounded view of the world of living things and give us some of the conceptual tools we need to move beyond the vicious circle of competition and self-destruction that is leading our civilization to the verge of collapse.
Foreword by Alain Caillé
Introduction. The age of mutual aid
Chapter 1. The history of a forgetting
Chapter 2. Spontaneous mutual aid
Chapter 3.. Group mechanisms
Chapter 4. The spirit of the group
Chapter 5. Beyond the group
Chapter 6. Since the dawn of time
Conclusion. The new face of mutual aid
Epilogue. For which world?
Appendix. On the ‘new sociobiology’
Pablo Servigne is an agronomist with a PhD in biology. He is a specialist in questions of collapse, transition, agro-ecology and mutual aid.
Gauthier Chapelle is an agronomist and biologist and an expert on biomimicry. He founded Biomimicry Europa and co-founded Greenloop.
"Cooperation has, over the course of evolution, been much more productive of increasing levels of complexity than competition. There is no doubt that mutual aid is omnipresent in nature. This penetrating study by Pablo Servigne and Gauthier Chapelle, which paints a portrait of this other "law of the jungle", is more than welcome at a time when we so badly need to foster cooperation, solidarity and benevolence in order to build a better world together."
– Matthieu Ricard, author of Altruism: The Science and Psychology of Kindness