The species as a subject

The species as a subject

This idea generates some questions on some of my readers. In the former “addendum” entitled The species and the man, I tried to answer some of the remarks by quoting Mayr, Dobzhansky, Gould and professors Ayala and Cela. I believe that the “real” existence of the species remained clear enough, at least of the current sexed ones. But it doesn’t seem, that their capability is resolved to some things.

The current doubts I face now are related to the species as subjects. If it is that the species, what ever they are, are capable of having objectives and of trying to meet them. Particularly of having the vital objective of its own survival and the imperative duty of trying to achieve it.  

They tell me:

a) It is no clear what an species is besides its taxonomical utility, because their ideas could be translated into other taxonomical categories as tribe (hominini) and genre (Homo).

It is also not clear that species “try as a priority to survive”. What does “trying” mean? And survive? Had the dinosaurs who transformed in birds survived? It seems they didn’t as an species but did as a lineage.

b) The species is a wide collective. By giving to this collective the nature of a subject we are granting it with a collective awareness, collective will and collective judgement, which would determine the collective orientation to the objective/imperative of surviving.

Every component/individuals of the subject/species should be oriented like that to the common imperative. Which could be a matter of discussion. It could happen in that situation to argued the existence of that objective, and if it were the case, to affirm that the development of the species does not really follow any imperative, but a simple and cold biological evolution without any specific purpose, until the extinction (that sooner or later could happen, and with that, when such an outcome takes place, disproving the existence if such an imperative.

c) The species man does not exist as a “something” capable of working as an ordered system. A “something” that includes every man and could have the objective of surviving and the imperative of trying.

One of the three readers that raised the previous doubt, thinks that that “something” will exist when a global government it’s created or something a like that could represent to all men.

A global answer

As I have said other times my basic idea came up as an intuition, “seeing” from the beginning the species as subjects or groups that are pursuing an objective. And I believe, as I was writing my ideas, I committed the mistake of starting from the species as the first concept before explaining why I was doing so. I now try to explain, step by step, my previous reasoning that remained implicit. Summarizing and with my non specialized language: 

I believe that it is universally accepted the idea that, with the exception of specific transmission flaws or by other causes, every living being, from the first one that reproduced till the last one…

       1. …have had and have genetic information for living and reproducing. And…

       2. …they have tried or try, first and foremost, to live and reproduce.

It seems clear that if all the living beings, with some exceptions, try the same thing, It exists a cause or command for that matter. From whoever: Nature, one or some Gods, Chance, Life, ¿…? An implicit command or imperative duty that, with the exception of transmission flaws, it’s contained in the information of its genetic programming. In the information that makes them living beings, along with matter and energy.

- It also seems universally accepted that, while trying to follow this living and reproducing commandment, the first living beings that achieved it, and their followers, were adopting the strategies that they found better for that purpose until today. Those strategies have already been widely studied and constitute part of the current known theories of history and the evolution of living beings. There are still plenty gaps of this process, specially on the millions of years previous of our existence as thinking beings. But we know pretty well what happened in the last years and what is going on in this days.

- Based on this recent knowledge , it seems that a common strategy of the living beings has being to evolve forming groups that share common physical and behavioral characteristics. There can be certain doubts of which is the basic unit of the living being as a subject capable of living, reproducing and grouping. It could be the genes, which seem to group themselves to form cells. And in the sexed ones: organisms, demes, species and clades. Or something alike.

-It also seems clear that living beings progressively incorporate into their genetic programs the necessary information to live and reproduce, adapting into their possibilities to their surroundings or changing habitats. The method and language of this information are already pretty well known. And even there’re still some aspects to clarify, it seems that we know that that internal language (or several languages) of the living beings exist, by which they express their living and reproducing instructions. As well as their norms or behavior patterns. To sum up, every group or collective has specific instructions to “produce” their individuals, and for those to try to live and reproduce as well. And behavioral norms that include the level of freedom proper to the individuals of the group. More or less. their individuals and so that they can try to live and reproduce in turn. And norms of behavior that include the common degree of freedom of the individuals of the group. More or less.

- Genetically and since common ancestors, the living beings of sexual reproduction generate individual organisms. And those group together into mendelian populations that constitute supra individual evolving systems. And Dobzhasky calls species to a set of mendelian populations that are subordinated interjoined between each other. The interspecies populations can present genetical and behavioral differences among them in other to adapt better to their surroundings. But they can reproduce themselves according to Mayr’s biological concept of species.

In lots of this sexually reproducing species, their individuals or individual organisms, generally of the same genetic population, form up groups or ecological collectives among them as a primary strategy to live, reproduce and take care of themselves and their descendance. And they group themselves building up ecological or social populations: familiar, gregarious, state-owned, colonial…

Conclusions. From these facts it seems that we can deduce the following:

- It seems clear that living beings not only try to live and reproduce themselves, but also try that their descendants live and reproduce. And that they transmit the same information likewise. And it also seems clear that, as a means for pursuing this objectives, the living sexed beings “make up, create” (look the second meaning of to create in DRAE) the biological species. Species that, within their convenience and possibilities, can be subdivided into biological and ecological populations.

- Every individual of the same species have, we have, a common information inherited from our predecessors. That common information are the norms that govern, or try to govern, the basic functioning of the individuals that conform each species. Namely, it is the natural rules, or current statutes of the species, developed on the grounds of the original instructions of the first living being that reproduced. To which have been added the adopted norms of the successive species until the current one. The current species that have evolved a little, or changed a bit of species, will have less added rules to the original ones. Sexed reproductive species have had and have a facility to evolve and adapt to environment changes, and that’s why they’ll have, normally, more complex entire instructions.

- It seems that, at least the current social sexually reproductive species that we know, are biological groups created by organisms whose primary objective was to enable or ease the survival of their first mendelian population formed by those first organisms. Whenever it was and whatever it was. And the successive individual organisms, coming from the successive reproductions, continued being the same biological species build op by the first ones. Differentiated from the others by some specific self-characteristics, common to his individual organisms. This organisms use the inherited information, and the provided by them, for trying to survive and reproduce iteratively, namely, for continuing being the same species. That could contain one or several mendelian populations and one or several ecological populations.

- In the common information, inherited through the subsequent speciations, every organism of the current species, have the pristine command of living and iteratively reproducing. And for this command every species was created and exists as a means for trying to achieve it. Means which’s first objective and reason of being is to try that organisms which preserve their vital information survive, namely that the species itself survives, in its current differentiated form or becoming another or other ones. Whose individuals would seem to, for what we empirically know, kept their basic commandment of surviving. Even if we don’t scientifically know the final purpose, and if its actually a final purpose.

- And it is not necessary that the species or its organisms succeed, for the objective of surviving and the commandment into trying it to exist. It is a common misconceived idea, both explicitly and implicitly, in several of the arguments made to me. The commandment or duty is trying survive regardless if it is accomplished or not. (DRAE. to Try: Do the effort and the necessary steps for doing something or achieving certain objective or purpose, without the absolute certainty of achieving it.)

The experts say that the current species (some 2 million known and some other bunch unclassified) are less than a 2 percent of those that have existed. According to this, it seems that the history of the living beings is a history of failures. Yet viewed from another angle, its is the history of the success of the existent ones. Until when and for what? To answer that, it seems that we have to, the man or mankind, keep trying to survive: in our shape or in another capable of living and knowing.

-Following the same tone I would like to answer another doubt. I believe we can consider the objective of surviving accomplished if some of the individuals of the species become another or other surviving species. In the case of the dinosaurs that become birds, I understand that the species of those dinosaurs got its purpose or objective to survive accomplished even if it was in the shape of another or other species. But I reiterate that the commandment is to try, even if it’s not achieved.

-Probably my mistake has been on giving the idea that the objective of the species is surviving as the same species. And I believe its true. But it’s not the only way to understand it. The species also accomplishes its objective if it transforms in other or others that, likewise, “live” and have the objective of surviving. I have somewhere compared this process to a relay race. Except the last one, every runner accomplishes its objective by passing the baton to his partner. As much the individuals as the species.

In the case of the man, my essential hypothesis is that he has the same commandment as the rest of the living beings of trying to survive. As the species man itself, while it is possible for its survival. Although, following the same natural law that the rest of the living beings, it seems that its duty would be to transform in another or other species, if that was necessary or the most convenient for the fertile survival of their individuals. The development of these ideas about possible transformations and the ways of doing them, would give material for many science and fiction books: the physical superman, the one of the Omega point, something like Huxley’s happy world, the possible allopatric speciations resulting in one or several catastrophes, the colonization of other planets or artificial bases, resulting beings from different engineering techniques… etc. And we can also think in creating or maintaining other form of life similar to man, reversible or not, keeping the man with its current identity.

For all of that, and possible for more, it seems necessary that the current man keeps living. And for that the vital imperative is still current. I suppose that, at least, while the man continues to exist as such.

Another idea that seems important, is that this species exist or survive while at least one of its mendelian populations exists and survives, even it is only conformed of one fertile couple. A couple that will continue having the commandment of trying to live and reproduce. Even if it has the possibility of not wanting or being able to try it. Or not being able even if it tries. Or of achieving it by becoming another species different than the original one, which would be an allopatric speciation very well studied by Ernst Mayr. And it could had been our case as I have commented in one of my previous writings. I don’t remember know which one. This hypothesis will match, more or less, with the Genesis and some other mythical stories.


I believe that with the above, my idea its clear enough that the biological species are groups or collectives whose objective it’s their own survival. An objective that consists in the survival of the descendant organisms of those who created and maintain them. Namely, the species are means, created and maintained by their individuals, so that the individuals who created them can live and reproduce, as well as their descendants. And with that conserving their vital information updated.

And it seems possible that another way in which the species survive is that some of the populations, or some of the individuals that make those populations, create, at some point, another or other species to adapt themselves to their environment and circumstances. And to continue living under the shape of another species whose individuals will keep trying to live and reproduce iteratively. And with that, as a new species, to keep trying to succeed on to the vital objective of remaining through time, to endure.

I believe that with this I have answered to the doubts that I have quoted at the beginning. And it may be possible that there exist some other subjects, within the taxonomical categories, that have as vital imperative their own survival. E.g, genes, cells, demes, clades, tribes, genres… Or life itself. But those are hypothesis or ideas that I have not considered in mine. As I have said in several occasions, my intuition came up about the man within the different possible “things” that the man is: for the whole or the part that the man has in common to the other living beings that form social species of sexual reproduction. Biological species as the ones that Ernst Mayr and Teodosius Dobzhansky.

As a conclusion, I´m still thinking that within the quoted boundaries, and with the answers better or worse expressed, my basic ideas are certain and true. And I´ll continue thanking as many doubts and objections come thereon.

Marbella, 19:07 march 22th 2018. Last review the 5th. 4 at 17:12

Some following footnotes:

After writing the above, I still have the doubt of whether I have been clear enough that the species in general or at least the current biological species, and the man as a living being with those same characteristics , are something that, as reality even it is undetermined, have the objective of surviving and the imperative duty of trying.

And I have the doubt of whether my ideas are false or I don’t have the capacity of proving them true. It is clear that I have a lack of technical skills to express my ideas. But I’m going to try it in another way, begging my readers, as far as possible, to make up for my communication shortcomings. I think, and I write:

It seems clear that, as other groups or sets of things or real individuals, the species are what the individuals that compose them in each moment are, plus what this have or produce, materially or not, as a set. Namely, the whole can be different from the sum of the parts: a flock of a hundred sheep is different than a hundred separated sheep. And it could be man-made sets or not. In any case the man names them when he considers them a more or less defined and precise set or a group.

Examples of “artificial” sets made of real and material things, but “created” by man: a bank, an army, a religion, the Peugeot I believe Harari uses as an example, a neighborhood community… This type of sets, I believe is what some call the “constructs”. And they formally and legally exist because some man think the, and make them explicit or write their birth and norms: in a paper or whatever.

Examples of “natural” sets made up of also real and material things or individuals, but not created by man even if we name them and consider them as a set: a herd of wolves, an anthill, the solar system… This type of sets doesn’t have explicit norms expressed in the language of man.

It seems that the natural species would belong to this second type of sets not created by man and without rules on the human language that regulates them.

Scholia: One of my readers thinks that if the man won’t exist as a subject until there’s a norm, global arrangement, or Global Authority, that grants him “legal” personality. As it is obvious, the “legal” framework is another level, and belongs to the artificial set types created by man, which is not the case, for the moment, of the human species as a natural set. I take that question or comment as answered.

Going back to the main business, the species would belong to the “natural” not-created-by-man type of groups or set and without human rules that regulate them. Although, as I have repeatedly said in my writings, all the social species, besides their implicit norms, have explicit groupal norms and communication systems that regulate, or try regulating the behavioral aspects of their individuals that affect the group or groups in which the individual belongs. And with that to the species as a global collective. The man is the highest example of groupal norms explicitation. See pages 56 to 64 of surviving by loving.

I don’t know how far have philosophers, biologists, ethologists, or the experts whom it corresponds. But from my amateurism, I believe that a concrete herd of wolves is a natural set or group that, as a herd, has an objective and certain norms for trying to achieve it. The objective continuing to exist as a means for the wolves of the herd can live and reproduce. And has groupal norms of behavior for trying to achieve that objective.

The diverse behaviors of the wolf herds have already been well-studied by the ethologists. And the wolves have common norms as an species canis lupus and different according the various ecological populations. I use the wolves as an example because they are a very interesting, complex and well-studied species. But I believe that almost all social mammal species and many vertebrates are very well known.

Answering to another of my readers, a wolves herd has a different conscience, will and collective judgements than the ones that has, as an individual, every one of the wolves that conform it. Those capabilities of the species as such: conscience (capacity to distinguish what’s good from the bad, not self-awareness) will (desire) and judgement (capacity to choose) the herd has those and exert them through different methods. I believe that in the case of the wolves is frequent that there is a leading couple that, with more or less support, represents and leads the herd. In the sardines banks this capacities seem to be exert through some sort of convention. In the anthills depends on the different species and populations of ants and of the type of decision to make. Every species and population usually has its own systems or methods. Ethologists have advanced a lot in their study.

Scholia: I believe that it’s a serious anthropologically-selfish mistake (1) to believe that it only exists what the man is capable of understanding and naming. Or that everything works and is measured with mans rules, capacities and wisdoms. Rules, capacities and wisdoms that, besides, “we know” contingents in time and on the different human collectives. (1) I excuse myself for the neologism, which could also be ego-antropophilic.

In the case of man, the “natural” capacities characteristic of the species, are exercised by groups of collectives or of genetic, cultural and ecological populations. And are poorly or well exercised, right or wrong. Normally without knowing that are commands of the species.

This capacities of using the consciousness, will and judgement, are exercised by man from what we call natural law. That comprises the universal mandate to the living beings, and the natural laws of the human species and of the groups in which each person, their parents and ancestors, belong or have belonged. And this implicit norms aren’t written in English or Spanish. Are written in the very same basic internal language of all the living beings, enriched with the proper terms of our species and with the dialectal turns of their groups or genetic and ecological populations.

Final note.  I believe I haven’t still answered to all of the raised doubts so far. I’ll try to write another addendum. I thank you for getting here. And my apologies for the possible mistakes and defects of stile. I lack of capabilities, means and time. I do what I can. And pray to the readers to see my writings as drafts to review and improve. And to correct and complete in what they’re worth to. I thank you for that also.

Marbella 12:01 23.3.2018 last check the 5.4 at 17:56 Translated November 29th, 2018

An apostille of the same day 23th at 19:47. Y believe that we can apply to the species, as real, the figure of the synecdoche. Namely, taking the part for the whole, when one or several individuals of an species, act as active subjects or receptors, is the species who changes or acts. As it occurs in many collectives. E.g. “Police has detained…” when two cops have detained… Or “Spain has won to Italy…” when the team of the Spanish selection has won to Italy.