Like kin selection, reciprocal altruism has been contemned as painting, even condoning, a bleak picture of human motives. Is sympathy nothing but a cheap way to buy gratitude? Is niceness just a business tactic? Not at all. Go ahead and think the worst about sham emotions. But the reason the real ones are felt is not that they are hoped to help the feeler; it is that they are in fact helped [by] the feeler's ancestors. And it's not just that you shouldn't visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children; the fathers may never have been iniquitous to begin with. The first mutants who felt sympathy and gratitude may have prospered not by their own calculation but because the feelings made it worth their neighbors' while to cooperate with them. The emotions themselves may have been kind and heartfelt in every generation; indeed, once sham-emotion-detectors evolved, they would be most effective when they are kind and heartfelt. Of course, the genes are metaphorically selfish in endowing people with beneficent emotions, but who cares about the moral worth of deoxyribonucleic acid?
The mind is never so wonderfully concentrated as when it turns to love, and there must be intricate calculations that carry out the peculiar logic of attraction, infatuation, courtship, coyness, surrender, commitment, malaise, philandering, jealousy, desertion, and heartbreak. And in the end, as my grandmother used to say, every pot finds a cover; most people - including, significantly, all of our ancestors - manage to pair up long enough to produce viable children. Imagine how many lines of programming it would take to duplicate that!He goes on to say,
The spouse of one identical twin feels no romantic attraction toward the other twin. Love locks our feelings in to another person as that person, not as a kind of person, no matter how narrow the kind.
That's just it!
The first point to which attention should be called is that the comic does not exist outside the pale of what is strictly HUMAN. A landscape may be beautiful, charming and sublime, or insignificant and ugly; it will never be laughable. You may laugh at an animal, but only because you have detected in it some human attitude or expression. You may laugh at a hat, but what you are making fun of, in this case, is not the piece of felt or straw, but the shape that men have given it, --the human caprice whose mould it has assumed. It is strange that so important a fact, and such a simple one too, has not attracted to a greater degree the attention of philosophers. Several have defined man as "an animal which laughs." They might equally well have defined him as an animal which is laughed at; for if any other animal, or some lifeless object, produces the same effect, it is always because of some resemblance to man, of the stamp he gives it or the use he puts it to.