Altruism Hierarchy Hypothesis
by Derek Cantrell
Not only do we as a species, compete against one another in an attempt to pass on our specific genes, but we as a species, compete against other species, in an attempt to pass on the genes of our species. It is known that countless species have become extinct, since the beginning of life on Earth. We can therefore conclude that our species has had competitors throughout history. There are still existences today that compete with humans for dominance; the primary existence being viruses.
At one time, our ancestors and our primate cousins, competed for rights over the finite resources of our planet. They may have also competed with large cats, wolves or even insects, over domain, food, etc. These aspects enforce an altruism hierarchy. A species is driven to be altruistic toward its own species, then its own family, then its own immediate family, then as the top target of its altruism, we will find itself or its offspring.
We as a species, show altruism toward cattle over insects, we show altruism toward other humans over cattle, we show altruism toward our specific family members over other humans, we show altruism toward our immediate family over distant family, we show altruism toward ourselves and our offspring over immediate family. There are of course exceptions, as these are simply predispositions, not laws.
While self-preservation is seen as priority one, I agree with many Darwinists who feel that we are primarily carriers of our genetic code. Once an offspring shows potential to be a superior (through potential or longevity), carrier of the specific gene code, the parent may self-sacrifice in benefit of the superior carrier.
My concept challenges the idea that we are at some pinnacle of evolution that allows us to break free of our pro-gene-passing methods and live in an elevated position. I believe we are nothing more than another species, practicing altruism hierarchy.
While I realize my concept keeps everything wrapped in a tight little package, this package has withstood time, since the beginning of evolution. I believe that evolution does allow us to understand and manipulate various aspects and laws of nature.
Mathematics is a perfect example. A bear may not show complicated math skills, but it can understand statistics enough to know that it’s more likely to find food near a water source, than places without a water source. By the same token, we can use our ever-increasing knowledge of things such as math and physics, to expand our domination over various environments, threats and concepts.
Love is a very broad term, as no one can seem to put a specific definition on it. It seems that love is as much of an idea, as it is an emotion in today’s societies, but once societal norms and ideas of love are dismissed, we can see various evolutionary drives that fall under the broad definitions. I believe that the Altruistic Hierarchy Hypothesis more than explains the various thoughts and actions associated with love.
The definition of in love is easily associated with our drive to procreate. In love and sexual tension are often manifested by the same symptoms, with the primary distinction being that in love usually describes an attraction that is mutual, where sexual tension usually describes a situation where at least one person denies or refuses the attraction of the other, or the attraction to the other. While current societal norms can be complicated, it is likely that these various definitions, actions, feelings, etc. derive from an evolutionary drive to promote our species.
If you think about it, the various definitions, actions, norms, and feelings weren’t conjured by accident, or randomly. We live in societies where nakedness is unacceptable, sex is a taboo subject and mating for the purpose of genetic promotion is masked with norms of finding mates with large bank accounts or an appropriate last name. When the primal drive to procreate is hindered by societal norms and expectations, you will find a host of reasons to justify the want and need to have sex with a potential mate.
Okay, so in love is a sham based on our need to procreate, but if so, how do we explain homosexual behavior? Is it a sham as well? We are pack animals and we survival more efficiently when we co-exist with our species in groups. We have lived in groups long enough for it to have an impact on our genetics, as we have a predisposition to be social.
When the drive to procreate is combined with the drive to successfully function in a social environment, the predisposition for some of our species to be homosexual or bisexual becomes essential. Ancient humans lived in polyamorous groups. It is assumed that childrearing was shared by the group. There were likely groups consisting of primarily males or primarily females, as groups strived to even the ratio.
Suppressing the sexual drive of males and females during times when a group consisted of an uneven ratio, would have been hormonally and evolutionarily complicated. It would be much more efficient to create males and females with high sex drives, to ensure continuation of the species, with the drawback of sexual deprivation causing frustration and conflict among the group. Homosexual and bisexual predispositions among some group members would remedy these situations. By males and females providing a spectrum of gender roles, including mating roles and childrearing roles, the group would remain much more united and efficient at raising offspring and much more successful at protecting themselves and their offspring, thus assuring the promotion of the genes of the group.
While homosexuality and bisexuality is considered an anomaly of normal human behavior, this is primarily due to ideas propagated by the various religious groups that indoctrinate the mass public. These groups base their beliefs on books that condone racism, sexism, war, genocide, infanticide and various other inhumanities that surely hinder the promotion of our species much more than the fact that homosexual activity does not produce offspring.
When we compile this with the fact that we find homosexual and bisexual behavior in various animals, while various religious groups deny that humans are animals altogether, the absurdity of religious foundation crumbles under science and reason.
I am in no way, dismissing the overwhelming feelings we experience when in love, whether it’s hetero or homosexual. On the contrary, our biology rewards us well, when we carry out the roles we were designed to perform. I urge everyone to bask in the ecstasy they feel when fulfilling this primal urge. The purpose of this manuscript is to offer a better understanding and explanation for these drives and feelings, so that we can make attempts to feel them more openly and honestly, instead of masking them with social norms and expectations based on folklore.
So in love is a sham, and while homosexual behavior has a vital place in our social and evolutionary behavioral systems, being in love with the same sex, is no more magical than being in love with the opposite sex.
If altruism is a hierarchy based on species preference, then love is simply a blanket term used to describe it. We are designed to promote our own species, then our own Phylum, then our own Kingdom, and so forth. Though anomalies are indeed present, I feel this altruistic hierarchy hypothesis explains the general predispositions for human behavior and thus will assist people in conducting happier and more productive lives.
Love is often used to describe feelings toward inanimate objects. Example: I love that new car, I love my new shoes or I love the idea of a large house with a white, picket fence. This is often little more than exaggeration and at best a misinterpretation of emotion. We are designed to horde various resources, such as calories. Our bodies are designed to crave high-calorie foods, so high accumulation of things we deem valuable can create endorphins in the brain and a sense of satisfaction, but a predisposition to love a new pair of Keds, is hardly evolutionarily explainable.
There is also the predisposition to feel rewarded when you obtain something that is difficult to obtain. In ancient times, if food or a mate was a hundred miles from you, your brain better offer significant reward for your effort, or you might just give up. The brain, therefore, produces high amounts of endorphins when you obtain a reward that is more difficult to obtain, versus an easier one.
Here’s an experiment you can try: Go online and order yourself a small trophy. It will arrive by mail, and…whatever. Now enter into a race that offers participation trophies for anyone who crosses the finish line. Give yourself at least a month and train for the event as much as you can. Even if the e-bought trophy dwarfs the participation trophy, you will feel much more endorphins when you obtain the participation trophy. You may even feel endorphins for years to come, just by gazing upon the reward.
This phenomena also explains why those in relationships for long periods of time describe love differently than those who have been in a relationship for a short period of time, as the drives are originating primarily from two separate sources. When a couple in a new relationship describe love they are describing a drive to procreate or improve social stability. When a couple in an older relationship describe love, they are incorporating more of the feelings associated with the participation trophy. I don’t mean to belittle the older relationship by comparing it to a trophy, I simply mean they feel less drive to procreate, but a greater reward, due to the hardships they’ve endured and overcome together.