HUMAN RELATIONSHIPS: A HISTORY OF SELFISHNESS AND HOW TO RELATE BETTER

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By Solomon A. Johnson.

From the beginning of time, humans have always had to relate with one another for both personal and collective purposes. Whether for good or ill, for business or marriage, relationships among ‘Men’ are inevitable.

There’s unarguably any great accomplishment that humanity can boast of that isn’t steeped in a high level of cooperation amongst ourselves. We just cannot do without one another.

From the Stone Age to the Information Age, one thing remain: human relationships. A closer look on these relationships, however, exposes another constant – selfishness.

So, let’s talk about selfishness.

Genes – The origin of selfishness.

A gene can be defined as the basic physical and functional unit of heredity; a segment of DNA or RNA that is transmitted from one generation to the next, and that carries genetic information.

Genes are selfish. Each gene wants to survive, to live long, and only to advance its own cause. A gene survives by making an identical copy of itself in a succession of carriers – humans.

Several studies have shown that humans are innately selfish. And truth be told, our experiences in marriage, business partnerships, and other forms of human relations have done very little to debunk these findings.

This is not to deny the truth that people sacrifice a lot for others. But that in doing things for others, we aim to make ourselves feel better, become better, or further our own cause in one way or the other. In other words, our occasional display of altruism has a foundation in selfishness.

In our world today, many broken marriages, partnerships, relationships, have selfishness as a major cause. Everyone is trying to further their own cause – usually at the expense of others.

So how can we make things better?

The first step in solving almost any problem is in identifying and acknowledging the problem. Having this in mind, that human relationships have a history of selfishness, and acting with that consciousness in our dealings with others, will go a long way in helping us avoid pain and disappointments in our daily dealings with others, be they business, marriage, or simply platonic friendships.

This is not an attempt to ignite feelings of paranoia or suspicion towards others, but to enable us to become smarter and wiser in our dealings with others.

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