My MIT PhD Application, and the 3 Irrefutable Biological Lessons Of History

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First, life is competition. Here is Will and Ariel Durant in their 1968 book: Lessons of History

“Competition is not only the life of trade, it is the trade of life – peaceful when food abounds, violent when the mouths outrun the food”

I have met folks who have repudiated competition, at almost every level. “I dislike competition” so they will say. Even more ridiculous, “I don’t compete”. As if nature request an opinion to make her decisions. The pith is, whether you like it or otherwise, you are in for a great deal of competition, long before you are conceived: remember, the races of the spermatozoa is an upstream one. I applied to a PhD program at the MIT last fall, I thought I had a chance, and maybe I was right. But here is the reply I got:

“You a very fine candidate but due to copious amount of applications, we could not grant you an admission”

Well, that’s probably how an African young man ‘competes’ with a “Lui Chi Tang” in faraway Asia or a nerd from an ivy league. Don’t be fooled life is replete with competition.

Second, life is a selection:

“We are all born unfree and unequal: subject to our physical and psychological heredity, and to the customs and traditions of our group; diversely endowed in health and strength, in mental capacity and qualities of character”

Well, what’s is the odd of you being “successful” if you are born in the US versus a sub-Sahara African country. Or what is the odd of you becoming rich if you are born into a family of billionaires? High, right? However, this is not to imply that once you are born poor you remain so. On the contrary, life is also replete of improbable success stories, albeit a deviation from the norm.

Third, life must breed: Durants wrote:

“Nature has no use for organisms, variations, or groups that cannot reproduce abundantly. She has a passion for quantity as a prerequisite to the selection of quality”

I remembered my social studies tutor in high school made us memorize functions of humans, and guess what number one on the list was: PROCREATION!

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