Darwin and Money

In the world in which we live, competition is a requirement for most to survive. As resources are finite, it may prove beneficial for individuals to claim resources for themselves. The “theory” of evolution teaches us that the strongest and most intelligent, the most capable specimen is the one which will produce offspring. As a result, selfish behavior is systematically rewarded. While such a system would seem to benefit the species as a whole, causing the next generation to be the products of only the most capable of claiming resources for themselves, we, as a species, have developed systems to provide for the weaker of our herd, insuring that their offspring may live to one day reproduce. Food Stamps, Medicaid, Social Security Income, all work to sustain the weaker of our herd. And why? We know such systems are detrimental to the advancement of our species. We know that to let the week die off will be beneficial to the next generation. The answer is simple. As much as logic would seem to dictate so much of our actions, we are emotional beings as well. Those damn mirror neurons cause empathy and we can’t help but feel pain for the weaker of our herd. As much as empathy may weigh on our motivation to act, the instinct to preserve our own lives, to preserve the lives of ones we love, often wins out over empathy for a stranger. This internal conflict may explain why we tend to try to look past homeless individuals. We don’t want to see their pain, because that makes us feel pain. but we can’t alleviate the pain, because our desires to take care of ourselves are stronger. So we take what we can, keeping as much for ourselves as possible, so that we never have to fear being without. We become numb to the suffering of others as a result of this drive to care for ourselves and become complacent, believing we somehow deserve this lack of pain more than those without the means to alleviate their own pain: “Should I buy another Cadillac? Why not? I’ve earned it.”. It is this culture of “Mine” that has to end. If the money in your bank account is not yours, but ours, we will never go hungry. We know where this idea of possession comes from. It is the product of this competition still prevalent in our society, this remnant of our need to fight to survive. All it would take would be a switch in the collective conscious, a move from being motivated by a fear of going without to being motivated by the desire to see no one go without.

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