All humans have an inherent drive towards being loving and caring. We have a natural want to get along with other humans and to love others, and we are rewarded psychologically and socially when we do this. It makes us feel good when other people feel good, we have greater access to good things like sex, and we can be rewarded in business with more money.
Our genes evolved with distinct goals in mind. These goals shaped the psychology of humans, which manifests in our behavior. These are our primal drivers in life. There are two genetic drivers in life – survive and replicate. Genes, which do not contain the capacity for conscious thought, have a want to survive as long as they can, and to reproduce to ensure the continuity of that gene for generations. As genes work together to build a basic, non-thinking animal, those goals makeup the existence of the species. Even as consciousness develops through the growing brain, the ancient, animalistic part of our brains still have those desires hard-coded into our wiring.
All humans have a primal desire to survive and replicate. To survive means to not die. Our genes want to live as long as possible, and so do humans. We are afraid of death, even though it is natural and inevitable. We worry about the future, we have insecurities, and we get nervous because of the primal want to survive and not die.
A lot of this is biological. We evolved to get along with others. It is in our best interest for survival to be liked by others. To be liked by others is to not be excluded from the group. To be excluded means to have a smaller tribe, and to have a smaller tribe – especially in caveman times, meant to be exposed to more risks such as war by other (larger) tribes, fewer access to resources, and attacks by saber tooth tigers.
We want to replicate. To replicate, we need to have sex and multiply our genes through the production of offspring. To do this, men must have sex with a woman and she must keep his seed. The act is simple. If a man meets a girl in a bar and gets her drunk and has sex with her, his work is done. He is partly incentivized, psychologically, to do that. That’s why the act feels good. However, is also disincentivized from that have sex and never see her again behavior.
If a man leaves the woman he impregnates, he faces consequences from the law through child support payments and alimony. Even if those consequences weren’t enforced by the law, he would still face ostracization from his tribe – from his local community. To leave the woman with the responsibility is to be dishonorable on both an individual level, and on a communal level. He will not be trusted in the community and, from that, unable to participate in the local economy, unable to date or have sex with other women, and unable to maintain relationships with men. In this way, people are self-policing. One person can inflict harm, but he will be ostracized from his community and will have to establish himself somewhere else. It’s much easier and more beneficial to be a good person – and humans tend to like doing the easiest thing.
We enjoy when others are happy. Not only does companionship increase the strength of our local tribe in times of war, but we actually get a positive hormonal kick when we recognize that someone else is happy. A rising tide lifts all boats. We are rewarded, chemically, for making others feel good or, simply, by others feeling good. But, when others aren’t feeling good, we are rewarded for showing sympathy and care in order to change their mood and get them feeling good again.
This is why we have fun when we go to bars and parks to interact in a positive way with others. We enjoy when others are positive and happy, so we go to places that encourage that behavior. It’s “fun” to go to these places and see and be a part of people laughing, dancing, and sharing in common experience. Many times, the shared, common experience is reflecting on a work day where everyone hates their boss or traffic or the local football team’s rival that won the game on Sunday and beat the point spread. Even when the common experience is negative, it still brings people together to relate to each other and show sympathy for the common situation. We call it “happy hour” even when we say nothing happy at all.
Humans are rewarded in the economy when we get along and consider the care of others. This manifests in a couple ways. One, when we are trusted by others, others are more likely to do business with us and transact their goods and services for our own. In caveman days, that could be the initial segregation of duties. I’ll kill a bear for food, you build me a place to live. This economy only works if people trust each other. The economy in 2018 is built on trust also, it’s just less in-your-face. But we don’t return to businesses that we don’t trust. We don’t visit businesses with one star on Yelp, and we don’t visit businesses our best friend said stinks, because we don’t trust them.
The second economic incentive to love and care for others is that if we understand and have empathy for the wants and needs of others, then we can provide products or services to fulfill those wants and needs. We will be rewarded in the market for having empathy and the creativity to solve problems that others have. If many people share that problem, you can turn a profit. Even if only one person has the problem that you were able to solve, you did a good thing.
In summary, all humans have an inherent drive towards being loving and caring. This is because:
- It is in our survival best interest because a tribe will defend us.
- We feel good, physically, when others are happy.
- We can be trusted in business transaction.