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Re-Establishing Altruism As A Viable Social Norm

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Evolution of Altruism

In evolutionary biology, altruism has a special meaning. As well as benefiting others, altruistic behaviour must incur a definite loss to the individual carrying it out. It is usually, but not exclusively observed within members of the same species. For example, a bee which stings an agressor gives up its life, but helps the colony survive by doing so. Altruism so puzzled biologists schooled on a competitive interpretation of evolution that E.O. Wilson, echoing the sentiments of many called it "the culmination mystery of all biology".

The first biologist to advance an explanation of altruism was William Hamilton. In 1963 he showed how kin selection (in which family members behave altruistically towards one another) could evolve. Robert Trivers showed in 1971 how repeated altruistic exchanges could evolve between unrelated members of the same species, or even of different species. Subsequently more complicated theories have arisen, including multi-level selection which posits simultaneous selection pressure on different levels, and costly signalling theory which suggests that altruism establishes reputation. It seems a fair conclusion that altruism has evolved through a mixture of all of these mechanisms, as well as more subtle ones as yet undiscovered.


W.D. Hamilton: (1963) The Evolution of Altruistic Behaviour, ??? 97 pp.354-356
Robert Trivers: (1971) The Evolution of Reciprocal Altruism, Quarterly Review of Biology 46 pp.35-57

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The Foundation for Humanity's Adulthood
www.humancondition.info
visionaries
This Australian Charity formed to explore the human condition has published a thought-provoking book about the evolution of human nature. It points the way towards the evolution of a positive, all inclusive society dominated by universal love.
Human Café
www.humancafe.com
visionaries/society
A set of forums to discuss the 'evolution of human consciousness'. The author, a businessman turned philosopher is author of Habeas Mentem, a thought-provoking philosophical essay on spirituality and emergent social forms based on agreement.
Spiritual Unity Network
www.spiritualunitynetwork.org
healers/spirit
Our goal is to help create a transformation of social and cultural patterns and a revolution of human values and consciousness. Our activities are aimed at inspiring a sense of personal responsibility for human and planetary wellbeing.
Accessible Horizon Films
www.accessiblehorizonfilms.com
informers/society
Accessible Horizon films is the realization of a hope of four humans on the journey of developmental change to try and create a revolution in the world around through their philosophy, ideas and films.

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