Homo Empathus

By: Dubem M.

Survival of the fittest is not an odd notion. It declares that the strongest will prevail. Very well. However, survival of the fittest tends to lose its validity when people start to attribute it to small scales. Like the human race as a species. You may have heard someone say “survival of the fittest” when there is a competition, but some go as far as to say that every person must be completely independent from one another as that is the self-sufficient attitude that ideology encourages. Well…..they’re wrong. The only reason that humans (as a species) have not gone extinct is because we are so social.

Towards one another, humans have an indomitable desire to socialise. This is exemplified by prison. Solitary confinement is a punitive action for a reason. According to the Prison Fellowship, solitary confinement should only be used as a very last resort because it can severely mentally damage the victim. Solitary confinement can even result in dramatic behaviour distortions and even permanent psychosis if the period of isolation is long enough. Additionally, humans obviously need interaction because we evolved to live in groups. Since humans did not develop long fangs, venom, or some other amazing bodily function we thrived thanks to “strength in numbers” and this has been permanently ingrained within our very DNA.

Speaking of DNA, thanks to human’s close range in DNA to one another, compassion is also a biological safeguard. We share at least 99.8% of our DNA with everyone else of our species. If we protect one another and ensure their survival it is likely that they shared part of their gene pool with you which consequently means that by saving them, you ensure that your  own common genes will be passed on. Though this is unsettlingly unemotional it is an ingenious mental innovation that may have determined our survival by protecting one another against stronger, faster and tougher predators.

Humans have reached a point where we have become almost aggressively social. We crave and essentially need it to survive. Our need to be social is extremely obvious. Early humans even saw the huge wolf, an apex predator, with massive fangs and thought “Can I pet that?”. IMAGINE THAT! Humans’ reaction to the wolf is entirely ill-advised. Nothing pointed to that relationship working out. Nothing except the wolf’s social nature could have bridged that gap in danger, however, that is doesn’t discredit the fact that wolves were ferocious and had no past history of being domesticated. Attempting to tame wolves could easily have just meant the death of a few early humans. But against all odds and rationale, we tamed wolves and we survived the dangerous endeavour.

So the next time your mom asks you why you’re texting instead of cleaning your room simply answer, “I’m fulfilling my genetic disposition”. Not only will it be true but you may also understand how dangerous it was to try to bother a wild wolf.

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