Group Dynamics and the Public Sphere


How does morality relate to the social group?

Without morality, group life would not be possible. Morality is what holds groups together. It is the glue. If everybody simply acted out of self-interest with no concern either for other people or for the wellbeing of the group at large, the group would quickly dissolve into a free-for-all. Human beings have evolved with powerful self-protective and self-promoting motivations and drives. A good part of our motivations are entirely selfish; our desires, angers, and fears serve to promote our own individual interests, often at the expense of other people. Sometimes this erupts in horrific exploitation of, or even violence against, others. On the other hand, humans have also evolved as social animals. We are powerfully oriented toward social organization and most of our emotions serve social functions. Along with our self-serving motivations, we have also evolved moral capacities. Some sense that we must balance our own interest with the interests of others is deeply encoded in our genes.


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