Friday, October 8, 2010

Hard-Wired to Share



Are we hardwired to be happier when things are equitable? Lynn MacTaggart has written a post about a new study that says just that. You can read the whole thing here.

In my humble opinion, I think that is really the only way to be truly happy. If you think about it - we are often happy when we have good fortune - there is no doubt about that - but what makes us feel bad? For me, it is seeing pictures, reading stories, watching the news, about those so much less fortunate. While we can be happy for ourselves, it is always tempered by the fact that there is so much misery in the world.

What would our world look like if it was an equal playing field? Everyone had enough to eat, a place to live that was clean and comfortable, where everyone lived in harmony and in an environment of peace?  When you suspend the ego, and desire to have more than others, who we really are can be revealed. And if you believe Lynn's post - it's something we are hard-wired to do.

25 comments:

Grandmother said...

"What if everyone had enough to eat, a place to eat..." From your lips to the Godess's ears!

Kay said...

but then we would not be human. If we were all the same... I'll go read her post.

Brian Miller said...

wow. we would have to doa lot of growing to get to an even playing field...

Bruce Coltin said...

You're a softy, but I love that about you.

Expat From Hell said...

There seems to be a lot of constipation out there in our supposedly "sharing" organism. However, I'm with Bruce and Brian on this one. You are unique in your views and your resultant kindness. That's why we're here....EFH

Joanne said...

I was just reading something about it being John Lennon's birthday tomorrow, and Yoko Ono's continued efforts to bring peace to the world. Your post just kind of connects to her whole peace endeavor.

gayle said...

And what a wonderful world it would be!!:)

DJan said...

For some unknown reason, I awoke this morning with a song in my heart and a spring in my step. If I read the news long enough, it would pull me right back down into sadness. I agree that the world can only be as you envision it if we would grow up a little. I'll go read that post now. :-)

Jeff D'Antonio said...

Weirdly though, we're hard-wired for both sharing and competing, which would seem to be diametrically opposed characteristics. Competition over scarce resources is an integral part of the evolutionary process (the strong survive), yet the desire for social connectedness and the "greater good" overrides that competitive nature in certain situations - what's good for my group is good for me, so to speak.

That's why humans and other animals form social groups, in which we work together for the good of our own group while competing against other groups.

Which is why we have countries and factions and tribes and countless other examples of groups in our world. The nature of sharing and the nature of competition balance each other out in that way.

So until we meet another life form with which we need to compete as a group (a common enemy), the "one world" concept will always be out of reach.

Pat said...

A wonderful idea, but it will never happen. There will always be the haves and the have nots.

~JarieLyn~ said...

Interesting. I know I like to share. I like watching TV shows where people help others out, like Under Cover Boss. I'm usually always crying at the end of that show because I am touched by the boss wanting to do something good.

Although I believe that we should all help one another, I don't believe that everyone deserves a hand-out.

One of my favortie quotes:

"Do not ask the Lord to guide your footsteps if you are not willing to move your feet." ~ unknown

Gaia said...

There is definite envy, that is why when we had to look to those less fortunate ... we will not feel so unhappy.

maggie's garden said...

In regard to Jeff's comment...I wonder if competition is a taught behavior...starting with our children in their early school years...as a means to embed a competitive nature to keep capitalism alive? I also wonder if there has been any study on children exhibiting signs of competitiveness before the age of say 5 years? I'm willing to bet they do not.
Don't you think that competition leads to unfairness? I believe it may be one of the cogs in the wheel.
I agree with Lynne and think we are hard wired to share. Excellent post. And interesting comments. Don't even get me started on the handout comment. I appreciate that we can have dialogue about these topics here. Thanks Nancy.

Nancy said...

I'm really enjoying everyone's take on the concept of sharing. I have to agree with Jeff, we may be hardwired to compete - the survival of the fittest. But that doesn't mean the human being can't evolve. We're finding out so much more about the brain, mind, consciousness, connectedness - why not the evolution into a being that doesn't need to have more than another? Hmmm, we may need to explore this further...

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Competition has its place. But so does sharing, reaching out to people in need. Terrific post, Nancy.

ellen abbott said...

I agree. Religion has taken credit for the presence of altruism in our lives, that without the rules of religion, humans were nothing but self serving and selfish. Nothing could be further from the truth. People love and form attachments and care for those they love. In small groups, we have always known that every member is valuable and we do what needs to be done to help them survive (one of the reasons I hate the whole concept of the 'reality' show Survivor). We forget these things when we live in large groups.

Land of shimp said...

I hope we get to find out, Nancy.

Hey, are you planning on seeing Waiting for Superman? I am, and every time I see a mention of it, I mean to drop by here and say, "Nancy, I think you might love this film!"

And now I finally have :-)

Friko said...

Mankind has tried it many times before; it's never worked and simply never will.

You go back over history and look at all the 'equal shares for all' philosophical and political systems - it was communism's aim not so long ago - mankind is incapable of carrying it through.

susan said...

It seems to me the first and best way of getting there is sharing laughter. Hate divides but joy multiplies.

Linda Myers said...

I spent today on my first Habitat for Humanity build, working with 14 other people I'd never met. We were there to help someone we didn't know, and we all felt good at the end of the day - though I admit I am a bit stiff and sore this evening.

If I do my little part, at least that's one little part.

Grandma's scrapbook said...

but then we would not be human. If we were all the same... I'll go read her post.This is very similar to my opinion Thanks for this great post.

elizabethm said...

Interesting post and interesting range of responses. I know Friko so will start with hers. I am not persuaded that the fact that communism has not produced a better system means that striving for fairness is a waste of time. Jeff is right that we are hardwired for apparently paradoxical things. Constantly constraining our selfish urges with all the benefits they may bring to our families, by recognising our need to care for our fellows seems to me the only way to live well. I think I am with you.

Jayne Martin said...

I completely agree -- at least, as far as my own experience. Nothing makes me sadder or angrier than the injustices and growing gap between the haves and have nots. But I have to wonder, if we're truly wired to feel this way, how does one explain Republicans?

Gaston Studio said...

Maybe that's why there's so many Americans with depression, watching and hearing all the horrors around the world.

Marguerite said...

Great post! If everyone would just abide by these two rules, "Love thy neighbor as thyself", and "Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you", then the world could be a happy and sharing place.