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If you picture primordial life as a bunch of microorganisms amidst a big soup of biochemicals, you could find two very successful surviving strategies: the baggers and the swimmers.

What you, primordial bacteria, need to live is nutrients and not being killed. In other words, you need a little help from the world, from the big ol’ biochemicals soup. But, obviously, the soup will not be rich in nutrients and safe conditions everywhere — there are hot spots which would fry you, there are dry spots where you will starve and so on. So you’d better put your bacterial sleeves up and do something for yourself.

What can you do? Two good and obvious ideas are either to assure you are on the right places or to assure the place you are has everything you need. That is, either you learn to swim (to get there) or you develop a kind of bag (to put the good stuff on).

Obviously, most of the time species would be using a mix of the two strategies (with their own spice). Most bacteria by now have very efficient cell walls (a kind of bag) and they use to have some kind of movement also. But what is interesting is to imagine where each strategy would leave you.

Baggers would tend to grow larger and strong, for the bigger their bag is, the safer they are. They would value comfort above all. Their view of the world would be dominated by judging if each thing that they find is worth “blobing” (that is, acquiring) or not. That is, they will be greedy.

Swimmers would tend to be slim and fast, for that allows them to go where they need. They would value freedom above all. Their view of the world would be dominated by judging if they must run away from whatever they find or not. That is, they would be belligerent.

Obviously, i do not believe that this is a good picture of the first life forms on our planet. It is just a metaphor for our own conditions: basically, we are just small blobs of organic matter floating on a large biochemical soup. We obviously do like to see ourselves in a better light, but the way we do the description matters not.

So, a bagger in our world is a person who thinks that by growing rich and having a macho car and putting himself in a position of respect and seriousness he will be doing the right thing. A swimmer is someone who believes that the right thing is searching, seeking, going beyond his limits, trying to find true happiness somewhere.

Both think that what they do is the “real” life. But their ways are just strategies. Are just forms of dealing with a world which does not care, really, about them, dealing with a life that has no preconceived ideas of what one should or should not do.

But most of the times, people will think that agreeing with an analysis is the same as giving up their way of survival, that seeing this is the same as changing their ways, that comprehension will make them less able to survive.


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