190. Evolution and the Emergence of Morality: Tracing the Roots of Human Existence
William Search's Theory of Morality
In his insightful books, "Why" and "Conversations with ChatGPT: Exploring the Theory of Morality and Existence," William Search presents the fascinating theory that the very reason humans exist is Morality. The ideas expressed in this blog post are inspired by and based on his works.
The Contributions of Michael Tomasello
Renowned psychologist Michael Tomasello has been investigating morality in apes for almost three decades. His studies provide significant insights into the possible origins of morality in early humans.
Food Procurement: A Catalyst for Communal Behavior
Tomasello's theory posits that the methods employed by early humans to procure food may have profoundly influenced the development of communal behavior. Chimpanzees and humans diverged from their shared ancestor around six million years ago and adopted distinct strategies for obtaining nourishment: while chimpanzees primarily foraged alone, humans collaborated to hunt their prey.
The Emergence of Cooperation and Mutual Aid
The cooperative nature of early humans' hunting endeavors may have fostered a sense of collaboration and mutual aid. Consequently, this could have laid the foundation for the emergence of a moral compass. The discovery of fossils from approximately 400,000 years ago reveals that humans had already begun working in unison to hunt large animals, indicating an early predilection for cooperation. This evidence bolsters the notion that early humans' food procurement methods might have played a crucial role in shaping their moral compass.
Morality: A Byproduct of Collaboration and Cooperation
The development of collaboration and cooperation in early humans appears to have been instrumental in the evolution of morality. The need to work together to secure sustenance and survive likely engendered moral values and a sense of community, which, in turn, served to solidify the concept of the moral compass. This perspective supports the idea that morality is a fundamental aspect of human existence. It suggests that morality emerged as a result of our species' unique social and communal nature, setting us apart from our primate relatives.