Friday, September 29, 2017

Why We Want to Change the World?


medium |  Humans have always been a social, cooperative species. According to Oren Harman of The Chronicle of Higher Education, this trait may be what’s propelled us to the top of the food chain:
“Developing the biological and cultural mechanisms that suppressed disruptive within-group competition and fostered empathy and trust, our ancestors became the sole primate.”
Ridley, and other evolutionary biologists, theorize that humans are designed to pass on their genes. However, preserving oneself is not the only way to replicate one’s genes. Per the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “By behaving altruistically, an organism reduces the number of offspring it is likely to produce itself, but boosts the number that other organisms are likely to produce.”
David and Edward Wilson described the adaptive strategy behind this paradox more succinctly:
“Selfishness beats altruism within groups. Altruistic groups beat selfish groups”
While altruism may be a cost to the individual, it comes with the benefit of increasing the likelihood that others with the group will survive. In other words, while altruism may not help us as individuals, it may help our kinsmen. Or, as Ridley says, “Selfish genes sometimes uses selfless individuals to achieve their ends.”

The power of reciprocity
Our ancestors cooperated on important functions such as hunting, gathering, protecting the tribe, and raiding others for their resources. This cooperation is helpful to the group and to the individuals within that group, writes Christopher Bergland of Psychology Today:
“Social behaviors — including altruism — are often genetically programmed into a species to help them survive…Even if you are feeling ‘selfish’, behaving selflessly may be the wisest ‘self-serving’ thing to do.”
Bergland explains the benefit to this strategy: “Acting selflessly in the moment provides a selective advantage to the altruist in the form of some kind of return benefit.” A paper published in the Annual Review of Psychology describes these reciprocal benefits more specifically: “Signaling that one is generous can lead to benefits for the person signaling, such as being chosen as an exchange partner, friend, or mate.”
If you help a friend pay of their credit card debt, they may be more likely to help you pay off your debt in the future. If you help a friend move into a new apartment, they’ll be more likely to help you when you move. When you are known as a person who helps others, people want to be your friend. By giving, we receive.