The Red Queen Effect

In Through the Looking Glass, the second sequel of the famous novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Alice realizes that she is running as fast as she can but she’s still fixed at the same place.

She is constantly trying to run but it has no effect as her surroundings remain stationary relative to her body. During this time, the Red Queen teaches Alice an important lesson. While explaining the nature of Looking-Glass Land she says,

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Leigh Van Valen, an evolutionary biologist used this analogy and his interpretation to illustrate The Red Queen Effect. This hypothesis is based on the idea that we all need to run in order to move ahead in life with the changing society, otherwise, we will stay trapped at the same spot or start falling behind. A tremendous amount of hustle with a sense of ambition is required to grow and overcome this friction that detains you.

The only instruction given by the Red Queen to escape this effect is – “work harder, faster” and then after escaping it, “If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”