Monday, January 08, 2007

Humans Evil By Nature?

That's the excuse I hear from a lot of folks who think activism is a waste of time. They say, 'people are just evil' - as if that somehow excuses their laziness. I've never believed it. I know governments can be evil - with a very very few men/women being evil - but that doesn't speak to the whole of the population of citizens.

Some new research looks at why we may not all be evil, in fact just the opposite:

In every society, humans make personal sacrifices for others with no expectation that it will be reciprocated. For example, we donate to charity, or care for the sick and disabled. This trait is extremely rare in the natural world, unless there is a family relationship or later reciprocation.

One theory to explain how human altruism evolved involves the way we interacted as groups early in our evolution. Towards the end of the Pleistocene period – about 12,000 years ago – humans foraged for food as hunter-gatherers. These groups competed against each other for survival.

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