Evolution as Our Source of Meaning
Evolution is a clever thing.
We all know it made us what we are by blindly selecting the most successful among a steady stream of changes. But what we don’t often think about is how most everything we value as humans—including love, romance, friendship, loyalty, etc.—are all mechanisms given to us by evolution in order to accomplish its goals.
If evolution were sentient, we would consider it a devious puppet-master.
We are attracted to babies so that we don’t abandon them
We are attracted to the opposite sex so that we have sex with them
We love our mates so that we stay together and nurture the mutual young
We value loyalty because it helps create a stable environment for young to flourish
If you look at your own life and the things you value and cherish most—they all serve a practical function for evolution, and were put in place to ensure that they’re incentivized.
Pleasure during sex
Being good at work
Being a good father
Being a good mother
Being a good friend
Try to think of something that is valued in greater society that isn’t incentivized in some way by evolution. And then think about how many people in the world know this is the reason they want and enjoy the things they do.
It’s the greatest crime of all time really: convincing us that we want things ourselves when our desires are in fact there for the cold and selfish purpose of species propagation.
It doesn’t bother me that it’s true. It bothers me that people don’t realize it is.