Saturday, March 11, 2006

BORN good

This fab post suggests we're born not flawed, but good, lovable, and gorgeous:
"Oops, the scientist dropped his clothespin. Not to worry - a wobbly toddler raced to help, eagerly handing it back. The simple experiment shows the capacity for altruism emerges as early as 18 months of age.

"Toddlers' endearing desire to help out actually signals fairly sophisticated brain development, and is a trait of interest to anthropologists trying to tease out the evolutionary roots of altruism and cooperation.

"Psychology researcher Felix Warneken performed a series of ordinary tasks in front of toddlers, such as hanging towels with clothespins or stacking books. Sometimes he "struggled" with the tasks; sometimes he deliberately messed up.

"Over and over, whether Warneken dropped clothespins or knocked over his books, each of 24 toddlers offered help within seconds - but only if he appeared to need it....

"Warneken never asked for the help and didn't even say "thank you," so as not to taint the research by training youngsters to expect praise if they helped. After all, altruism means helping with no expectation of anything in return.

"And - this is key - the toddlers didn't bother to offer help when he deliberately pulled a book off the stack or threw a pin to the floor, Warneken, of Germany's Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology, reports Thursday in the journal Science."MORE>>>
This came from Reba Rambles: Musings of a Mental Magpie. Thanks, Reba.
& thnx to ppreacher for the foto


Paxton said...

This *is* encouraging news and kind of cool, but "capacity for altruism" does not equal "unflawed". The emotions a person feels when looking at a newborn baby are no proof either.

Athana said...

Hee hee, Paxton, this is exactly the kind of answer you'd expect from someone who worships a daddy god. Daddies love you only on condition: that you make the team, that you get good grades, that you kill the mountain lion before any of the others do; etc., etc.

People who worship Mother Gods are perfect, know they're perfect, and relish and bask in their perfection. Why? Precisely because healthy mothers love unconditionally. No matter what. Happy people don't make war. They like other people. They see other people as perfect too. This is the kind of society I want to live in. How about you?

Then chuck that daddy god sitting on your shoulder!

Athana said...

Paxton, the fact is, your father god is never going to love you. He's going to hold his love out to you your entire life, like a carrot on a stick, always just out of your reach. You'll never be good enough for him. So then deep down that does something to you that is negative, and you pass it on to the rest of us, and we get what we have: a world full of war, hate and misery.

Paxton said...

To the contrary, Athana, love is not an emotion but a committment to the good of another person. And I am very sorry that you think fathers are not capable of unconditional love, but they are, and My Father most of all.

Athana, you do not have to think that someone is unflawed in order to love them perfectly. (As with my fiance, I tell her often that she is perfect, but we both understand that if she can improve in an area I will encourage her to do so, and vice versa).

On my blog, I responded to your "being comfortable is the point of life" comment, and part of that post might apply to this post. I hope you read it =)

It seems as though you are saying that unconditional mother-love is synonymous with indulging every desire that a child has, where it is understood "Don't bother to improve, I won't notice if you do anyway".

I will say it again, love is not indulgence. I am very glad for the times that my mother told me "no" or encouraged me to do something better. And yet I know that she loves me without condition, and would not love me less if I ceased to improve. It is precisely because she loves me that she wants me to improve.

Morgaine said...

Wow, Paxton, you really can't picture it, can you? That you might be ok; that growth is possible without disapproval; that excellence doesn't have to be based on guilt and shame; that beauty can motivate as effectively as fear; that punishment is not necessary to create positive behaviors.

That makes me sad, for you, everyone around you, and the rest of us that have to coexist with you. As long as you can't envision a peaceful, supportive environment - and I'm sorry, your "father" is neither - you'll continue to support systems that are getting people killed.