[ExI] [tt] Identity thread again
tara at taramayastales.com
Tue Mar 24 19:58:39 UTC 2015
I’m glad you are a nice person, but you should recognize that your act of altruism took place in an environment where if that family had repaid you by murdering you and moving into your house, they would have been arrested and punished.
This is why a communist society can work for about a generation — or in a very small, tight-knit community. People reared in a high trust environment will pro-actively and preemptively engage in altruism, with the (unconscious but rational) expectation other strangers will do the same for them. The few who break the trust must still be punished, however, so a high trust society must also be a law-abiding society, not an anarchy.
If you had been raised in a society — or even suddenly found yourself in a society — where people continuously rewarded your altruism with contempt and betrayal, your altruism would eventually break down… or you would be martyred.
A while ago, I read a news story about an idealistic young woman who decided to hitchhike from Europe across the Middle East wearing a wedding dress, to show that she was “bride of peace” (or something, I don’t remember the exact details of why she wore a wedding dress) and to show that people could be trusted. By all reports, she was a wonderful, compassionate person. Dozens (hundreds?) of kind and wonderful people gave her lifts and proved her trust in human kindness. But before she even made it across Turkey, she was raped, murdered and left dead on the side of the road. She learned too late that just because you yourself are kind and self-sacrificing, doesn’t meant that everyone is.
Evolutionary psychology operates over generations. The fact that you, and many others, are inherently nice does not discredit or invalidate it.
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> On Mar 24, 2015, at 11:28 AM, William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> wrote:
> To make such self-sacrifice for a stranger, humans must expect to receive compensation (another form of reciprocity), like payment and honors to soldiers, that will benefit themselves or their family. Tara
> I completely disagree with this. I help people with no expectation of reward from them or their family, friends, government, or anything. I just helped an immigrant family get their car started and got nothing in return - not even thanks. But I know I did the right thing.
> For those of you who believe in an identity, this reinforced my belief that I am a helping person. There any many forms of reward/reinforcement for our behaviors and self-reinforcement is one of the most powerful.
> How this fits in with people's ideas of evolutionary theory I neither know nor care.
> Bill W
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