Evolution Does Not Favor Selfish People

Here is a great BBC article about how we are hardwired for cooperation. It’s so nice to see studies like this because we often forget that everything great that mankind has accomplished is because of cooperation.

One person did not put a man on the moon. One person did not invent the internet. One person did not build the Empire State Building.

A team of architects drew up the plans, a team of people made the cement, a team of people forged the steel, a team of people built the bulldozers and cranes and a small army assembled it with all that stuff.

The thing is, nobody likes to work with people they don’t like. It’s that simple. Sometimes they have to, maybe because they need a job and prospects are scarce so they will put up with abuse to put food on the table.

But don’t think they are giving it their all.

This is how resentment builds up and when resentment builds up people stop cooperating and the infrastructure begins to fall apart. Turn on the news and you will see it all around us. Lots of resentment and lots of infrastructure failing. But there is hope:

We, I believe, are in the midst of a revolution, we’ve had 20 years of massive self interest that has gotten us into a lot of deep trouble and we’ve had financial collapses and expanding ozone problems in the sky and global warming and the revolution is that we are reorienting ourselves towards kindness as a way to solve some of these problems.

 –Dacher Keltner, Director Of The Greater Good Science Center, UC Berkeley

Evolution does not favor selfish people, so let’s reboot. Let’s embrace our genes and start being nice to each other so we can stick around for a long, LONG time!

Photo by Alessandro Pautasso