The thoughts of men and more so women are not purely driven by material wants and needs. There is always the metaphysical and psychological aspect to a man’s life. How did that come into being? Do others, that is other organisms suffer from, or enjoy it too? If we were to solely focus on the physical needs that haunt us and choose to optimally satisfy them surely we could survive in a better state if not the same as of today. If all self serving thoughts were not accompanied by guilt and concern for physically isolated life forms then wouldn’t they be easier to carry out? I won’t say anything about the state of happiness, for that would be most paradoxical. How can you measure a state of affairs in a denomination not defined in it?
So what do you think was the starting point of emotions? Maternal Care? Did Mothers showering affection onto the young to prolong the chances of the survival of her genes by bettering the life expectancy of the recipients of her love? That certainly would be a self perpetuating process, forwarding the memes if not genes of love. In a hypothetical loveless society where parents satisfy every physical need of the child, feeding him, keeping him warm comfortable and safe; Would the child even yearn for affection? If you do not see in your “environment” the exchange of hugs, kisses and other forms of physical reassurance would you be even aware of their possibility? Gratitude, guilt, anger among others are biologically driven, true but to what end? In warring elephant seals fighting for a harem, lust for sex and power shall undoubtedly be a major driver, this in turn decides to release the flood gates of hormones through the circulatory system. During the actual act of battle these biological catalysts may either prove to be a boon or curse by enhancing or diminishing the involved senses.
Even the emotional attachment between family members ensures that they keep each other safe and thus in turn prolong the possibility of the existence of same gene carriers. I realize some of you may decide to mould the lines above your brow into sinusoidal waves at this. Much like the super models which are so popular today, Dawkin’s viewpoints, seem to his critics singularly single dimensional. But alas the same freedom of speech and thought which allows the dispelling of uncontainable hate and damnation by religious pundits, Dawkin’s will continue to rave and provoke the minds of some if not many. There arises a most cold and interesting calculation of how much your life is worth in terms the lives of your kin. Suppose you and 5 of your cousins(1st) are on a cruise ship and are about to have your very own Titanic like experience. There is place for four people on the last life boat and you get to choose who gets on board and who gets left behind. The framer of the situation being of moderately dramatic inclinations informs you that 3 of the cousins are toddlers. The 4th is in his mid 30’s with a healthy and successful wife and 3 children. The last cousin is your favorite, she and you being of the same age have formed a bond over the years stronger than siblings do. She is the elder sister of the 3 toddlers but adores you more. In a real life choice like this you are generally most likely to be left back along with the cousin you are most fond of or the eldest depending on his level of chivalry. Those left behind are generally the most likely to survive a long and practically impossible swim.
It has been proposed that taking in account probability of inheritance of genetic material down the family tree is by a factor of half from parent node to child. This figure is achieved by reflection of the fact that a single child is likely to inherit 50 % of his genes from one parent and the remaining from the other. These ratios are obviously more theoretical and are an average taken over humongous numbers. If this theory is stretched onto 1st cousins they are found to be likely to possess 1/8th of one’s genes. (That is I have 1/8th of my genes in common with 1 cousin) So in the situation in which the toddlers and the eldest leave for dry land, from the candidate’s point of view 4/8 of his genetic matter is saved against the loss of 9/8. Clearly the choice has not been a genetically justifiable one. Moreover the eldest cousin having churned out 3 kids from a working wife is not likely to reproduce any further nor are his young likely to perish in this day and age. Even the young ones seem a wrong choice. You ( assuming you are in the prime of your youth) have proven that you can survive in this world to the age you have reached, the toddlers do not present any such certainty. Saving them now doesn’t guarantee that they will father young, whereas you and your sister stand a better chance of gene spreading. From everyone else’s point of view the most likely solution is optimal. Assuming that all the 5 are brothers and sisters, their own death will be genetically compensated by their siblings.
Many shall be repulsed by the mere idea of making such calculations because they seem so loveless and others may view this “scientific “ approach as non pragmatic. We as humans have elevated ourselves to the consideration of human beings rather than or own gene. This perhaps is a good example of how our actions are determined by our own limited view span which doesn’t exceed our own life. Love for an individual is what you feel till you breathe ,genes do surpass that, not that it matters once you eyes roll over.