I remembered watching the news about the earthquake that took place in Puerto Rico a couple of days ago. The earthquake in Puerto Rico has been going on intermittently since last year, making the residents terrified and traumatized, fearing for the worst. In the news, I learned that many families had moved, all seeking for better living conditions. While many people are praying and helping each other out, I can’t help but notice a comment made towards the migration population, saying “since you don’t have people dying now, there is not the same sense of urgency.” As I questioned in The Basic Political Writings, “What are the generosity, mercy, and humanity, if not pity applied to the weak, to the guilty, or to the human species in general (pg 62)?” Although immigration might not be so simple, it’s merciless and inhumane to make comments rejecting people in need simply because their condition isn’t lethal at the moment. I would strongly suggest people do unto others as you would have them do unto you (pg 64), since it might be useful to you one day.
Like I have been saying, us humans have pity for one another which is why instead of harming one another, we help each other … unless we threaten each other’s self preservation then, that’s a whole different situation. So, I was discussing with my fellow 18th century folks and they told me of this research that some biologists conducted on how we may be born with the impulse to help. In this research they found that, as young as 18 months old, infants immediately help adults who are in need of assistance (for example, if they dropped something or is struggling with opening the door). This research they conducted proved my ideas right, even babies have the ability to empathize with people who are struggling because instead of ignoring the adults they try to help them in any way they can. This innate ability of ours is the reason why we are still here today because if we didn’t have this, “human race would long ago have ceased to exist, if its preservation had depended solely on the reasonings of its members”.
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).