Saturday, September 7, 2013

Darwin loved a Liar

Survival can become a challenging task in the wild – especially if you’re smaller or slower than your predators. This is why many animal species have developed different ways to camouflage themselves throughout the course of evolution. Ways to camouflage differ, but blending in with the environment is the most common approach.
Natural selection plays its part here as well: as the way in which an animal camouflages itself is determined genetically, every new generation adapts to its surroundings better. The most common example is a chameleon, although some furry animals and birds may lose their feathers and fur completely and replace it with a new one for a new season.
Liars survive.
Surprisingly, sometimes the best way to camouflage oneself is to stick with the herd: for example, when a lion walks by a bunch of zebras, it only sees a big striped mass. Some fish that are covered in bright vertical stripes might also be clearly visible when alone, but if a large group of them swims by, a predator will see an unidentified colored blob. 

Liars working in teams tend to survive even better.
The term stalking horse originally derived from the practice of hunting, particularly of wildfowl. Hunters noticed that many birds would flee immediately on the approach of humans, but would tolerate the close presence of animals such as horses and cattle.
Hunters would therefore slowly approach their quarry by walking alongside their horses, keeping their upper bodies out of sight until the prey was within firing range. Animals trained for this purpose were called stalking horses. An example of the practice figures in the 1972 film Jeremiah Johnson, when Johnson and Chris Lapp ("Bear Claw") are hunting elk in the Rockies:
Jeremiah: Wind's right, but he'll just run soon as we step out of these trees.
Bear Claw: Trick to it. Walk out on this side of your horse.
Jeremiah: What if he sees our feet?
Bear Claw: Elk don't know how many feet a horse has!

History proves that liars (people pretending to be what they are not) tend to be successful and are survivors.

The Trojan Horse is a tale from the Trojan War about the subterfuge that the Greeks used to enter the city of Troy and end the conflict. In the canonical version, after a fruitless 10-year siege, the Greeks constructed a huge wooden horse, and hid a select force of men inside. The Greeks pretended to sail away, and the Trojans pulled the horse into their city as a victory trophy. That night the Greek force crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, decisively ending the war. Today, "Trojan Horse" has come to mean any trick or stratagem that causes a target to invite a foe into a securely protected bastion or space. It is also associated with "malware" computer programs presented as useful or harmless to induce the user to install and run them.

History proves that deception and subterfuge works great in times of war (or peace)

Duck Dynasty is an American reality television series on A&E. It shows the lives of the Robertson family, who became wealthy from their family-operated business, Duck Commander, operated in West Monroe, Louisiana, which makes products for duck hunters, primarily the duck call named Duck Commander. The business began in a family shed, where Phil Robertson spent 25 years making duck calls from Louisiana cedar trees. His son Willie is now the CEO of the company. Think about it: their entire business model is a product that helps duck hunters to fool unsuspecting ducks.
What would Daffy Duck say to Elmer Fudd using a Duck Commander to get him to come in closer? Liar! You're not a female duck - you’re a hunter! Liar!

Lies. Deceit. Trickery. Subterfuge. Camouflage. These are the things that allow a species to survive, these are the things that cause armies to win battles, and these are the things that allow businesses to thrive and produce profits.
Why are we so surprised when we catch people in business being less than honest with the public? Why are we so surprised when athletes use banned substances (technology) to get a competitive edge? Cheaters never prosper - unless of course you believe in evolution. Natural selection is one of the cornerstones of modern biology, and it is based on rewarding the best tricksters.

Success through deception is not a human invention, we just got really good at it. 
The technology of today now makes telling whoppers easy as using photoshop. Facebook may have a billion users, and Twitter may be raking in the revenue. If you were to ask the next young, hip person you saw which social network they love most, odds are they’ll name Instagram.
Instagram is a free photo sharing application that allows users to take photos, apply a filter, and share it on the service or a variety of other social networking services, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, Flickr, and Posterous. In homage to both the Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid cameras, Instagram confines photos into a square.
Did you catch that? The “hook” of Instagram is that it applies a filter. And what do filters do? Filters modify the appearance of something, in this case, modifying the original photo. Filters make fakes out of originals.
So, we should not be so surprised when we find out that things are not what they appear to be, especially in the world of business and technology. 

Deception and trickery has been going on all around us since the beginning of time. Both "Mother Nature" as well as society seem to openly reward the best liars.

And so does Wall Street.

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