In Why is it Nice to be Nice the authors; Eva M Krockow, Andrew M Colman, and Briony Pulford have a few things to saw about us being nice, including humans along with other animals. They present a few ideas on how this could all work, but I wonder if maybe they’re missing something. How is it beneficial to us as individuals.
I’m thinking that by living in a nice community, where people are helpful and are often ready with a hand up or a hand out it makes our lives better, makes our success that much more likely. This improving our chances for survival and reproductive success.
In addition, seeing how being nice improves our chances makes it easier for us to aid others, thus improving their chances. You get right down to it, it’s a win-win situation. It’s a matter of the better my neighbor does the better I do. When Stephen R. Marsh sent me $20 dollars—of which I got 18—he was basically encouraging me, and for that I thank him.
Essentially what you’re doing when you are nice to others is that you are encouraging them to be nice to others themselves, and to be nice to you. You are encouraging their survival and their reproductive success, much as they then go on to encourage the survival and reproductive success of others that they may know. It comes down to a +sum game.
And it feels good. Helping others gives us warm fuzzies, and accepting kindness gives us warm fuzzies ourselves. I know that there are mean people out there, but do we need to let them harsh our mellow?
Read the story for yourself and see what you think. And if it upsets you ask yourself why you’re letting yourself get upset. Finally ask yourself this; is being mean and nasty really doing you any good.
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