The golden rule of hunter-gather life is pretty simple:
November 29, 2021 § Leave a comment
The golden rule of hunter-gather life is pretty simple: Do everything to bring the band together; do nothing to split it apart. Don’t sow division. Don’t hog up more than your share (of food, sex partners, attention). If you happen to be blessed with muscle, don’t throw it around. If you happen to be a great hunter or a dazzling beauty, don’t flaunt it over others. Be one of the good guys, in other words. Of course, if there’s an instinct in humans to get along with each other in groups, there’s also an instinct to get ahead. We proposed that agonistic structure in stories generally, not just in Victorian novels, reflects the ancient morality of hunter-gatherer life. Living in groups, as humans must, means constantly balancing our selfish impulses with group needs. Protagonists of stories properly balance individual self-interest with the needs of the group. In general, protagonists sacrifice their self-interest for the common good when the two are in conflict. Not antagonists. Pretty much the definition of a bad person among hunter-gatherers is the bad team player who reliably puts his or her own interests above the group’s.