After dinner, Morgana suggested that everyone return to Camelot so to rest and continue the discussions with Gabriel. Gabriel agreed, “Morgana, what a nice idea. I haven’t had much time to just visit with friends and relax and chat.”
Morgana said a short Enochian verse and all were safely back in Merlin’s library, including, everyone’s favorite chair, table, and honey mead goblet.
Merlin noted that it was getting late, but the students piped up, like children at bedtime, “Merlin, we are not tired at all. Please let Gabriel talk some more. Please.”
Tristan replied with a little chuckle, “Gabriel, do these guys remind you of anyone you know?”
Gabriel, standing up, said, “Oh course, they remind me of someone, you. Let us began once again on the subject matter of good and evil. When I said that the actual event leading to the establishment of selfish actions was evolutionary hoarding, I did not fully explain how this is so. For evolutionary hoarding, in all creatures other than humans, is not considered to be selfish per se. Only in human creatures is selfish behavior considered inappropriate.
Evolutionary hoarding joined to a conscious sense of ownership is the actual beginning of selfishness. For examples, squirrels and other rodents store or hoard food during the warmer months so to survive the winter. I imagine that if another squirrel attempts to steal part of its winter hoard it would defend its territory. Similarly, when one dog tries to extract the bone from another a short scuffle will likely ensue. Even little babies can be territorial. In these situations, the issue concerns instinctive protection of the creature’s territory rather than a sense of ‘this is mine and not yours.’
The ‘sense of this is mine,’ that is ownership, begins somewhere between 15 and 18 months of age. With the arrival of this developmental period, the child starts referring to itself as ‘me’ and has begun to differentiate itself from animate and inanimate objects. He or she realizes that its physical body does not merge with other physical bodies. He or she has learned those motor actions require an agent and a receiver separated in space. This is why children start saying, ‘Me want or me hit or you hit me.’ Later they learn to use the personal pronouns ‘I’ for the agent and ‘me’ or ‘you’ for the recipient of actions which feel intentional.
Subsequently, the second necessary ingredient for selfishness is the belief that objects and creatures can be owned by one another. Moreover, such ownership is condoned by the child’s siblings, parents, educators, and the legal system. For example, a teacher may forcefully or persuasively extract a toy from one child so to give to another, while explaining why this is a just action by the authority. In a sense, the natural instinct of territoriality has been expanded into a rigid law of human society.
I think you are beginning to see the problem. The universal instincts compelling a creature to hoard food and defend its immediate territory were favorable to survival and reproductive success and so carried forward by descent with modification. When combined with a strong sense of self differentiation, a developmental period experiencing the redistribution of desired objects by a person with authority, a capacity to be crafty and able to plan ahead, being or seeing bullies in action, and many other negative reinforcers, one can easily understand how selfishness came to be such a strong force in society.
If each of us were just a little selfish, we would secure those items that we need to survive at an acceptable level of comfort. We would understand that we need to practice reasonable hoarding for the future is uncertain. In addition, we would understand that other people and families must do the same and allow them the same rights of possession. In fact, we would quickly discover that the most efficient and sure methodology to assure sufficient goods for everyone is to invent ways to cooperate and work toward our common needs.
The conscious realization of the benefits of cooperative behavior so to secure food and shelter would generalize too caring for each other in illness and injury. We see a new level of function emerging from the instinctive cooperation which evolved in the hunting carnivores, a function which compensates and moderates selfishness which is called ‘altruism.’
Once we understand basic selfishness and altruism, we are very close to understanding the meaning of noncapitalized evil. But, this needs wait for another rising of Phoebus. Good night, one and all.”
And goodnight is was.