The Homunculus

Psychology, Anthropology, Evolution

from de Waal & Dawkins

Posted by Joy Icayan on December 12, 2009

Society is not really made to be a purely competitive operation. And I think we have learned that lesson, but I don’t know for how long. The whole argument that nature is red in tooth and claw, and for that reason society ought to be like that, is flawed. Because nature is not like that. If you look at our close relatives, you see animals who survive by cooperating. Yes, there is competition. There is dominance, hierarchy. They sometimes fight. They sometimes even kill each other. But they stick together because they survive together much better than alone.

Frans de Waal, primatologist and author of The Age of Empathy: Nature’s Lessons for a Kinder Society

“The position I have always adopted is that much of animal nature is indeed altruistic, cooperative and even attended by benevolent subjective emotions, but that this follows from, rather than contradicts, selfishness at the genetic level.”

Richard Dawkins, evolutionary biologist and author of The Selfish Gene

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