Friday, August 1, 2008

Everyone is Narcissistic

Here's Looking at Me, Kid

This article generated some question marks for me. I tend to see the world and observe human behavior from a evolutionary perspective, so the content of this article seemed obvious. Of course we are narcissists!

Within the spheres of ethics that exist in individuals, the very first is that of self-love. How are we to pass our genes on to subsequent generations (arguably the purpose of life) if we are more concerned about others? Does altruism exist in nature? Not likely. Most cases in which one could argue selflessness as a motive for an organism to act in the interest of another have been proved wrong. Ultimately, these "altruistic" behaviors benefit the seemingly thoughtful animal in the long run, as opposed to the alternative route that would appear to benefit it in the short-term.

An obvious example of misdiagnosed altruism can be found in male anubis baboons (Papio anubis) who may willingly assist other males in copulating with sexually receptive females. And does this really surprise you? I have heard countless laments from our own male species about a "friend," or one with whom he has formed an alliance, who exploits friendships only to bolster his own chances of mating with the opposite sex.

While the helper baboon appears to willingly eliminate his own chances of mating with the female of interest, the act is not necessarily altruistic. This mating strategy can subvert the normal age and size sexual dominance hierarchy. As males patiently scale the hierarchy, they heighten their own chances of mating successfully by using this behavior. The assumption is that the helper baboon will eventually become the helpee. By assisting another with whom he has formed an alliance, he will in the long run be rewarded with a better chance of mating successfully than had he not helped at all.


Kelly said...

Baboon wing man huh?

jrinvictus said...

Thank you, I have been arguing this point for years. I use the argument that every action is good, there is no bad. The reason is because everything we do is to benefit ourselves. I would never do anything to benefit you, even though you are a great person.