Sunday, June 05, 2005

Old Acquaintances

This week has been interesting as far as hearing from people I haven't talked to in ages.

One afternoon after lunch I stopped in at Diana's to see her and Lily. While I was in Andrea stopped by and so she and Diana and I were talking about yarn and knitting.

Someone came in and Diana got up. I had my back to the door but Andrea said, "Oh my God!" It was someone we both worked with at the radio station years ago. He had stopped in to ask directions. How odd that we would all be there at the same time. It was great to get to see him, even though it was brief.

Then today I got an email from my great niece, Leslie. She lives in Mississippi and we just don't seem to connect very often. Not sure why - life, I guess. We all get along fine - and think about each other - but just don't make actual connection. So, it was good to hear from her.

She shared one of her drawings with me. It's very good. I've asked her permission to post it here. If she says OK, I'll show it off, even though it makes my own drawing look bad.

These are both just interesting experiences - of hearing from someone I really enjoy - that I didn't expect to see/hear from at all. Quite a lovely week in that way.

At this point, when I'm missing my now-former bf so much, it's nice to make connections with others.

Also this week, Susan N. called for lunch and that was a bonus. And, having a long dinner with Jocelyn and Diana last night was also great. None of them knew about us breaking up so it was just nice that it all worked out.

Brancusi Quote

"Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave."
Constantin Brancusi

Altruism in Humans

This has been a quiet Saturday for me. I didn't even leave the house until about 5:30. I worked on garden tour things and painted in the upstairs room some more.

Then I went and met Jocelyn and Diana for dinner. I was ready for a real meal as I had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch. I just wanted to keep working.

Jocelyn and I had planned to go to Roys at lunch but she had some other things come up so we decided on dinner instead so we could be relaxed.

While I was soaking in the tub, trying to get the paint off, I was reading about some new brain research on altruism.

Many animals demonstrate a form of altruism toward their kin, but only humans extend it far beyond that. Previously, we've known that people will offer kindnesses when they can expect future benefits, but this study tested if people would reward cooperators and punish those who do not to along, even when it costs them to do it.

Altruism would seem to lower the chances of survival since it doesn't provide immediate benefit or gain. In fact, it's costly in resources of many sorts. But, altruism seems to be a firmly ingrained part of human behavior.

Why? Well, it seems to point to the group selection theory, which researchers have always discounted because the conditions for it could not exist. However, in this case, if the altruists populated early communities, and then punished those who didn't follow their ways --- something that seems to be ingrained in us even today --- they would effectively make altruism the norm.

Regardless of how we got here, we seem to be the only animals with a propensity toward selflessness.

I'm continually fascinated by the human.