If we evolved - What purpose does guilt serve?

by usualusername 21 Replies latest jw friends

  • bohm

    usualusername: For moths it is evolutionary advantageous to fly towards light because it gives them a mean of navigating and get around. But it also mean they often fly into lightbulbs and fires and die -- similarily the impulse for guilt evolved because it is more advantageous than not to have it in general, but that does not mean it has to be advantageous for the individual.

  • cofty

    Similarily there appears to be evolutionary foundations of xenophobia. We make disctinctions between our in-group and out-group. That served us well as hunter-gatherers but sadly it now results in racism, homophobia, tribalism and genocide.

  • usualusername

    blooming hell

    I wish I had not asked this.

    I am more confused.............

  • cofty

    "The Selfish Gene" by Dawkins covers this subject in some detail.

    When you look at evolution form the point of view of the gene it answers a lot of puzzles.

    Genes that have an effect on their hosts that make that host more likely to successfully reproduce and carry that gene into the next generation will prosper in the gene pool.

    In individual cases the effect of the gene may backfire but in terms of genetic success its the long game that counts. The advantage of a mutation may be tiny but if it offers any advantage it will increase in frequency all other things being equal.

    Often people think about evolution as a vicious process with individuals fighting for survival. That is only part of the picture. Genes that increase the willingness or ability of individuals to cooperate will also thrive and in the case of Homo sapiens with or large brains that has been our big advantage.

    Symbiosis has also been an important part of our story but that's another subject.

  • Hortensia

    good discussion, thanks

  • usualusername


    My pleasure. Just wish I understood these smart answers...........

  • scotoma

    Ususalusername: You were smart enough to ask the question. That's the most important part.

  • James Brown
    James Brown

    If we evolved? Guilt is not biological.

    Man becomes what he thinks about.

    If he thinks he wants a new car and can afford one he gets a new car,

    if he cant afford one he works harder or different and gets a new car,

    or he decides I'm going to be happy without a car and then he doestn think about a car anymore.

    Man, society thru televison, radio, church, religion teaches man to feel bad, guilty about certain behaviors

    thru the news, sermons, advertising etc.

    So if one doesnt want to feel guilty they can start by dropping out of society ie watching television, listening to the radio,

    going to church and they wont feel guilty or bad about as much, also they may become very self sufficient.

    I dont see guilt as being evolutionary, I just see it as being what man thinks about.

  • cofty

    James Brown are you saying that without " televison, radio, church, religion" people would kill, steal and rape without feelings of guilt?

  • James Brown
    James Brown

    Cofty, I'm just saying that the media and social connections are away to keep the sheep in line.

    If you dont want to suffer from guilt you have to step out of line.

    I see you are a soccer player. I just retired at 60 and started playing soccer the first time in my life.

    It's a blast I grew up in America with baseball, American football and hockey.

    I'm playing indoor 5 man on a side right now, I am thinking of signing up for outdoor after this season ends

    in June.

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