Which is more important: Survival of the Individual vs Survival of the Group?

Do traits such as empathy allow for better survival of the group? 

Empathy I think stems from what is the opposite of self-preservation. If survival is the goal for an individual then empathy doesn't seem like a desirable trait but does seem like one for group survival in that the individual cares about the survival of others of the group, example: Humans.

4 Answers

  • 4 weeks ago
    Favorite Answer

    In biology, altruism refers to behavior by an individual that increases the fitness of another individual while decreasing the fitness of the actor. Altruistic behaviors appear most obviously in kin relationships, such as in parenting, but may also be evident among wider social groups. They allow an individual to increase the success of its genes by helping relatives that share those genes.

  • 4 weeks ago

    I will agree with your thinking as a general concept, yes.  Empathy and other "not me" concerns or behaviors are more beneficial to the group than the individual specifically, but of course the individual is part of the group so is not ignored by any benefits that affect the group, and often can become a very specific and particular beneficiary of such group-oriented actions or behaviors.  Just may not actually be a specific beneficiary, but the possibility definitely exists.

  • RockIt
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    To the group, the group is more important

    To the individual, the individual is.

    Read "The Lottery" a short story by Shirley Jackson.  Its an interesting exploration of "whats been passed down for generations beyond memory", the "threat to the individual by the group", and the "unquestioning commitment of the group to sacrifice an individual from the group for no reason other than tradition which has been passed down for countless generations"

  • Dixon
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Richard Dawkins' big contribution to evolutionary biology was the idea that evolution primarily operates on genes, as distinct from individuals. So if a gene promotes an outcome that makes that gene more likely to survive, then the gene will be selected for, even if it is not always in the interest of every individual. Thus, while an empathy gene (collection of genes) present in a group of social animals makes the group more likely to survive, the important part is that it makes the gene survive. In this way of thinking individuals are just hosts for genes.

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