Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?
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  1. #1
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    Sad Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    I see a lot of lamenting about human actions that exploit others or trash the common environment. Sometimes it is at the personal level and sometimes at the group level. The in group and the out group usually choose a group identity item such as a religion, language, or physical appearance. The Scots used their tartans to separate who was kin and who was expendable!

    We spend a lot of time discussing how to have people play nice with each other but history is full of examples of individuals or groups assuming dominance and depriving others. Each one finds a way of rationalizing, excusing, or denying their culpability.

    Do I just view the situation with a jaundiced eye or is that reality? Can the situation be altered or is it just part of the human condition?
    Frank

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    Hello Frank,

    Your comments are absolutely right and 'yes' it is individual or group selfishness that brought us to who we are today, what we have done in the past and what we will do in the future. That does not mean we neglect the wider view once our own, family and/or tribe need for survival is met.

    I guess the creator (if there is one) or the principal of survival did not know we will tame the fire, domesticate plants and animals and start digging in the ground to feed that ever larger need for heat. All was setup for defending your own, your families and tribes area of dwelling without the knowledge of what the human brain can develop. No other animal has that capacity and the simple fact that we have used more of our resources in the last 100 years then all mankind before us should give us enough thoughts about the size of what humans have done.

    Just think about pre-plastic times, even only going back to pre-1945 makes me wonder how we could do it today andmaintain our luxury. We (most of us) can go when and wherever we want within hours -not our ancestors.

    Most of us have food for cheap -not our ancestors.

    We can preserve food for winter -not our ancestors (or with large limitations).
    We can buy whatever food we want at anytime.
    The three previous points are the outcome of the many famines mankind has seen, but nobody remembers them anymore, because our minds are made to remember the good, the winners, the survivors, but not the bad, the losers or the dead.

    We have water coming out of a faucet in our house -not our ancestors.
    We have heat and cold as we need it -not our ancestors.

    As one old timer once told me: in the early days we went out to sh... and in to eat. Now we sh... inside and eat out.

    It all boils down to selfishness of the individual, family or tribe.

    No other words for it and it will not change, we can't change our DNA and rationality, accept it. Once we have ruined this planet and are all extinct, the world will be a better place.

    There is just to many of us 8 billion selfish homo sapiens.
    Summ Summ Bienchen summ herum

  4. #3
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    This made me think of one of my Great-Uncle. He spent his entire life on a farm. After he got married and bought his own farm they moved a house that had indoor plumbing out to the farm. After many years of encouragement from his wife he finally installed a septic tank and a toilet.
    He never used the inside toilet or left the farm to visit any of his children who had moved away and lived in modern homes if it required an overnight stay.

    Alex
    Ten years of Beekeeping before varroa. Started again spring of 2014.

  5. #4
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    I have had similar thoughts but have focused it on honey bees for now. It seems honey bees are extremely efficient and altruistic. That is until the end of the "flow". After 35 million years they still have robbing. One strong colony finds, attacks and robs a weak colony. So human like or are we so "bee like"?

    But! New questions have risen after only 5 years of beekeeping. I have observed a hive, adjacent to two other hives, that appears to be very Varroa resistant. What does this really mean, meaning why? Does this colony not rob? Is it really VSH genetics? Has the Varroa affect have an affect on genetic mutation causing a change in social structure? Bee colonies co-existing with some Varroa possible ( Seeley)? Can humans change? ( But make sure ther are fed!)

  6. #5
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    Evil entered the world when Adam & Eve 'stumbled' in the garden. It will remain with us until 'He' comes again to fully establish His kingdom here on earth.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?
    Of course it is hardwired.

    I don't care how highly we say of ourselves (a joke, since we only climbed out of the caves just a few seconds ago).

    We are still animals and in the essence care of:
    1)food for self
    2)shelter for self
    3)self-procreation.

    All the behaviors are rooted in these 3 points, be you a Homo or a fruit fly.

    The 3 points are fundamentally always held at the expense of the other specimens - i.e. selfishness.

    The End.

    PS:
    yes, a Homo could do better than a fruit fly;
    but even highly placed Homos now days mostly care of their own "hand sizing";
    in short - still a fruit fly.
    Former "smoker boy". Classic, square 12 frame Dadants >> Long hive/Short frame/chemical-free experimentations.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    It's about survival.

    The group who cooperate between themselves will do better than the group who do not, so cooperation among group members, and even selfless acts, has helped people with those attributes outsurvive the others.

    Of course there may be individual selfishness among the group members but if it is too extreme, that individual will become disliked by the others and risks being excluded from the group. So individual selfishness exists, but must be in moderation, or attempts made to conceal it.

    Groups will have conflict with other groups, but if faced with a common threat may combine forces and act as a larger cooperative group, only for the purpose of fighting the common threat, after which they may return to conflict between each other.

    People are stronger in a group, so seek out groups to be a part of. The group will often be of like people, and attempt to be more powerful or superior to other groups. So we have people of a similar age deriding people of a different age, or people of different skin colour, cultures, religion, sex, profession, or whatever, all attempting to gain or push their own advantages.

    Thus there will always be racisim and other evils, it is human nature, it is bred into us. If we became more "evolved", maybe we could lose these traits. However evolutionary pressures favour the group, and grouping behaviours, so the status quo will likely continue.
    "Every viewpoint, is a view from a point." - Solomon Parker

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    Traits that contributed to survival have obviously been selected and retained. Loyalty to a strongly defined group would be one. Where such groups were in competition with other groups quick and violent behaviour was rewarded. This was a long period of selection ~ perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. Problem is that in relatively short time frame, by comparison, the competition or danger is not from other small groups. The game has changed to where survival is challenged by problems that appear to need more co operative mindsets and less of the short fuse, hands on solution. We now have global problems and the enemy is ourselves. Instinctive behavior if it is hard wired may not respond quickly.

    Perhaps there has to be a stress applied that deselects the behavior no longer contributing to solution of the current problems.
    So far our common problems have not started to cull any behaviors. We still act like a bunch of tomcats thrown into a grain bag! Things have not gotten bad enough for us to have taken any serious learning moments from. I dont think there will be any quick solutions.

    I know my own instincts are not easy to modify even when I see a need. Reality though is setting in a wee bit and I know for certain I am getting to danged old to fight!

    Happy Thanksgiving
    Frank

  10. #9
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    Default

    The animal in us is hardwired for the various survival traits listed above and could include cooperation when that is useful. The human in us, however, can learn to develop altruistic traits and / or overcome our instincts. The question is do we choose to be animal or human? In my own experience I find instinct holds sway when I need to act fast to protect my own, ie fight or flight. I would hope over time to become more adept at working and behaving out of my personal free choice for the betterment of all rather than being bound by my own instincts -- and I suppose sometimes I may choose the instincts.
    I do think we are hardwired to learn and progress as well. So a person who cannot free themselves from their instinct or motivation only for personal gain is behaving more like the animal than the human.

  11. #10
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    Default Re: Is selfishness hardwired in homo sapiens?

    "I do think we are hardwired to learn and progress as well".

    I agree. I think that adaptation process may be tempered to prevent jumping all over the map in response to temporary undulations in our environment. It is geared to slow changes. We are now (in the past 3 - 4 hundred years) facing exponential change in complexity. Responses that once protected us are no longer valid and indeed now threaten our very survival.

    It can be very hard to quickly reprogram such instinctive behavior. History is full of extinction records of species who could not quickly enough respond to changing circumstances. I think there is no quick and simple answer.
    Frank

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