I recently read a synopsis of a seminar that discussed the evolution of the human brain. The seminar, sponsored by the Templeton-Cambridge Journalism Felloships, brought together members of diverse disciplines like anthropology, archaeology, biology and neuroscience.
Essentially, the attendees said that our brains have developed through our social behavior, and not due to any drive for reproducing DNA as previously posited. So, if we aren’t acting on our ‘selfish’ genes and survival of the fittest individual and are actually acting on group interaction to promote the fittest group; then how are our past ‘selfish’ oriented philosophies altered or cast in a new perspective?
Should we toss out all our books that discuss rigid heirarchies, empire building, and other acts that glorify the individual over the group?
When I think of this, I recall an interview I saw earlier this year. In it Lebron James stated that he believed his greatest strength was looking to his teammates, always looking for ways to work with them and to make them successful. Perhaps in addition to his amazing athletic abilities, this is another reason many perceive him as one of the greatest basketball players of the last decade.
Still, even if our brains develop through interaction, we can’t escape our history and our past (well, really still) emphasis on the individual. It will be a good first step when we begin understanding the intrinsic nature of our shared values and seek to always work well with others.
Thanks to Michael Fitzgerald for the informative first article.