Pity and The Origin of Inequality Can be Found on Infants

Recently, I have seen a collection of lecture notes from Standford University. The main theme of the course is the origin of human cooperation. In this collection, Prof. Tomasella talks about several experiments they performed on infants. In the experiments, researchers give infants several tasks which they can only complete by cooperating with others. By observation, researchers found that helping others is a naturally emerging behavior to help others. This conclusion is concordant with my assumption of human nature in The Basic Political Writings that “Pity is what carries us without reflection on the aid of those we see suffering” (p.64). What is more, researchers also found another interesting phenomenon that infants who work well with others are more popular. Researchers thought this is what we can esteem in society. This fact proved my idea that esteem is one origin of inequality in The Basic Political Writings “as soon as men had begun mutually to value one another, and the idea of esteem was formed in their minds, each one claimed to have a right to it, and it was no longer possible for anyone to be lacking it with impunity” (p.73).