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The trouble with moral high ground

[ by Charles Cameron — fitness landscapes and the Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond ]

With the rise and fall of sea levels, sky levels, land emerges or submerges, mountain ranges with scattered lakes in their valleys transform into archipelagos, island clusters surge up to become continents — rise and fall, ebb and flow, wave upon wave..

I mean, really, what of the moral high ground?


Consider these:

Figure 13: Schematic “adaptive” or “fitness” landscape. 

Adaptive Basins and Strange Peaks

Biologists talk about adaptive landscapes. In these metaphorical places, species climb uphill towards optimal fitness. Going up is a struggle. Climbing takes energy. Optimal peaks can be hard to attain. Many species are distracted by getting stuck on sub-optimal false peaks, or waylaid by the intervening rugged landscape.


  • ResearchGate, Schematic “adaptive” or “fitness” landscape
  • The Technium, Adaptive Basins and Strange Peaks
  • **

    Nemesis and the Prophets are agreed:

    Every valley shall be exalted, every mountain and hill made low

    — or as Mary said of her son’s father:

    He buffets proud folk about like leaves in a gale.
    He upsets those that hold themselves high and mighty
    and rescues the least one of us.

    Ursula le Guin voiced Lao Tzu for us in English:

    True goodness
    is like water.
    Water’s good
    for everything.
    It doesn’t compete.

    It goes right
    to the low loathsome places,
    and so finds the way.


    What’s softest in the world
    rushes and runs
    over what’s hardest in the world.

    The immaterial
    the impenetrable.


    O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road, And I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

    One Response to “The trouble with moral high ground”

    1. Charles Cameron Says:

      While looking around for images of fitness landscapes, I was tempted by this one, where the abrupt curve of the inverted shoe presumablty warns one of the basin of attraction those beguiling lips might call one into…

      Source: Best Foundation for Dry Skin
      Oops! I fell..

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