David Graeber, most widely known as the author of Debt: The First 5000 Years and a theorist of the Occupy movement, as an article in The Baffler arguing that freedom and play inherent in the nature of things. After a certain amount of opening throat clearing about play among inchworms and lobsters he gets around to the modern economic view of things, according to which all animal behavior (including that of us featherless bipeds) is to be accounted for by appeals to rational self-interest, a view that embraces (if only metaphorically) genes, which are just (odd) components of certain molecules.
For various reasons, which he explains, Graeber's not buying it. This is what he ends up proposing, via self-organization:
Let us imagine a principle. Call it a principle of freedom—or, since Latinate constructions tend to carry more weight in such matters, call it a principle of ludic freedom. Let us imagine it to hold that the free exercise of an entity’s most complex powers or capacities will, under certain circumstances at least, tend to become an end in itself. It would obviously not be the only principle active in nature. Others pull other ways. But if nothing else, it would help explain what we actually observe, such as why, despite the second law of thermodynamics, the universe seems to be getting more, rather than less, complex. Evolutionary psychologists claim they can explain—as the title of one recent book has it—“why sex is fun.” What they can’t explain is why fun is fun. This could.
I'm sympathetic, both with his reservations about economic rationalism, and with his advocacy of ludic freedom.