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Our Social Inheritance: Friendship And Involvement Is Highly Protective Of Good Health

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As inequality increases, the amount of trust individuals have for each other decreases. Most conflicts occur between species/individuals that are more alike than different. We all compete for the same species, Thomas Hobbes concluded that because of that, competition would lead to “continuous conflict of every man against every man”. Is this accurate?

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Our ancestors of hunter and gathers did not live in a state of constant conflict. Human behavior can be explained by human tendency to help maximize “material self-interest” Animals such as chimps also have hierarchical status. Dominance in the males is determined by strength and size. Male and female in this sense are not as equal. However, if we look t bonobos, we see a sense of equality. Bonobos behave differently, in this group of animals, male and female are practically equal. Bonobos also engage in sexual activity multiple times. This “…eases conflict, signals friendliness, and calms stressful situations.” Humans have DNA structure close to the bonobo rather than the chimp. This goes to show that humans may have “…had a preference for making love rather than war.” Humans have been able to develop and operate in both “dominance hierarchies and in egalitarian societies.” The pursuit for higher status is usually seen as a masculine characteristic, however, this could also be a response to the female preference for higher status. Children who experience stress earlier on in life are shown to be more aggressive, less empathetic and better at solving conflict later in life.

Human actions, personality and much more can be a reflection of how our ancestors once were. By studying animals such as chimps and bonobos, we identify similar DNA structures and relate ourselves to these animals. We study the brain and actions identified that explains our needs and wants for dominance. This chapter summarizes our social inheritance and its accountability in relation to human action and the ever so rising inequality

Equality and Sustainability

Governments are unable to make cuts in carbon emission without at the same time, reducing inequality. Social and environmental sustainability go together. Most, if not all countries, have the ability to achieve “high life expectancies without exceeding current world CO2 emissions.” The more fortunate you are, the more likely you are to contribute to global warming. We hope that technology saves us from extreme carbon emission. Energy saving innovations, although seemingly great, make us spend our money elsewhere on more fuel/carbon releasing products which in the end, defeats the purpose of environmentally beneficial products. With better fuel efficient cars, we inevitably choose to drive further distances, which is equivalent to driving a shorter distance with a non fuel efficient car. We need to build goods that last longer, so that we can decrease the flow of waste. There is a correlation between invention/innovation and inequality.

11 February 2020

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