Culture Magazine

Humans Naturally But Rarely Cooperative

By Cris

A recent press release from Washington University in St. Louis touts a new book, Origins of Altruism and Cooperation, edited by anthropologist Robert Sussman: “The book’s authors argue that humans are naturally cooperative, altruistic and social, only reverting to violence when stressed, abused, neglected or mentally ill.

Humans Naturally But Rarely Cooperative

Because stress, abuse, neglect, and illness are fairly good descriptors of the human condition, all that natural goodness is rarely expressed. It might be more accurate to say if we could eliminate stress, abuse, neglect, and illness, people would be nicer and more cooperative. This is either stating the obvious or a tautology; I’m not sure which.

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