Re : genetic unselfishness

From: Joao Pedro de Magalhaes (
Date: Mon Jan 24 2000 - 08:23:12 MST


>Robert you mention upbringing, but let me suggest that the desire
>to please others could be genetically hard wired. The mechanism
>would be this: a sexual partner who *receives* pleasure from
>driving his or her partner wild with orgasms is a superior lover
>to one who does not receive pleasure thus. In a typical village
>like those that humanity has inhabited for most of mankind's
>history, this behaviour would not go unnoticed (shrieking,
>moaning, etcheard thru the grass walls of huts?) and therefore
>this particular lover would become popular, reproductive
>probabilities increase, etc. Conclusion: We are born hard-coded
>to enjoy pleasing others. spike

I agree. And not only based on sexual reasons; for hundreds of thousands of
years humans have lived in societies (whether tribes, groups or raging
bands) in which cooperation, empathy, and taking care of the next man is
necessary for survival. I believe that there is some genetic mechanism to
make humans take pleasure out of other humans' pleasure. Of course that
environmental factors can condition these genes but I think it's quite
likely that they exist.


Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
The University of Namur (FUNDP)
Unit of Cellular Biochemistry & Biology
Rue de Bruxelles, 61
B-5000 Namur BELGIUM

Fax: + 32 81 724135
Phone: + 32 81 724133
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