The Objectives Of Humans
Darwin has shown the mechanisms of the evolution of species in detail. Here is a very short summary.
Some of those individuals of a species that have objectives, properties, or habits that do not further their survival, will perish in some difficult moment. This is because they will devote part of their energies, urgently needed for their survival, to other objectives. Or, they have properties or habits that make their survival more difficult.
Since many of these individuals perish before finishing their reproductive period, the species in the future will have fewer individuals of this type. On the other hand, individuals better capable of survival, will have on the average, more offspring and thus a higher percentage of the species will be made up of them. By this, the species itself is better able to survive.
Is it also true for human beings that their main objective is the survival of the species? Certainly, the average human being is not conscious of any such objective. But when we observe humans, we can observe the following second level objectives, which all seem to help to reach the main objective: survival of the species. We want:
To do all the above, we choose even lower level objectives. Let's look at some examples:
- To breathe.
- Otherwise we will shortly die.
- To have pleasurable sensations.
- Having them means having a well functioning body and mind, means having health. So in seeking to have these pleasurable sensations, we tend to have a body and mind better suited to survival.
- To eat and drink.
- Without food the individual dies and if all individuals die, the species dies.
- To rest and sleep.
- This is a way to restore our strength. Acting without pause will lead to collapse and total inactivity. A state in which we cannot reach our objectives.
- To protect oneself from nature and other IS's.
- Not defending could cost us our health or even life. Having more healthful, living members strengthens the species, and assures its survival.
- To make love.
- The looking at girls or boys, the admiration of a beautiful body, character, and mind, the courtship, the emotions we feel, all this finally leads to offspring and thus assures the survival of the human species.
- To be curious.
- Being curious we have new experiences, learn more response rules and are better equipped to deal with future situations.
- To be together with others.
- A group of persons can do what an individual cannot do. So otherwise unobtainable objectives become obtainable. The individual itself, and thus the species, has a better chance to survive.
- To try to excell.
This leads to a continuously greater ability to act efficiently.
So we see that the objectives we can observe in human beings all point to survival as the main, though unconscious, human objective. Reaching these lesser objectives helps us in reaching our main objective. That is, there is a pyramid of objectives where the lesser level objectives act as guidelines for obtaining the higher objective, and finally the main objective.
- We like tools for making consumer goods.
- With tools, we can produce more in less time. Thus we produce more goods, which other IS's need for their well-being and we get better paid. This well-being increases their chance for survival while our better pay increases our own chance for survival. (Middle and upper income classes live longer than lower income classes.)
- Some of us would like to improve our society.
- A better society makes it easier for its members to live. (And to live well.)
- We want to learn. (This includes scientific investigations.)
- Learning helps us to reach our objectives easier, and with that, also the ojectives of the species.
- We like to see art and hear music.
- To humans, looking at art objects and hearing music are both pleasant sensations. Pleasant sensations produce pleasant emotions, which our brains interpret as an indicator of achievement of our objectives. Being able to achieve our objectives helps our survival. (However, this interpretation may be an illusion--an incorrectly conditioned reflex. Achieving objectives produces pleasant emotions, but it is doubtful that pleasant emotions always mean the achievement of objectives.)
- Many people like to participate in sports.
- Sports can help keep one fit for physical activities. Fitness gives us a better ability to act on our environment, to permit us to reach our objectives easier, and to survive easier. If its members survive easier, the species survives easier.
- Many people like to do crossword puzzles or play cards.
- These and other similar mental games keep the mind fit. Mental fitness benefits us similarly to physical fitness.
It seems that the objectives that we can observe in a sane or average person are nearly always those that in some way aid the survival of the individual. A species needs surviving individuals to survive itself. So finally, the temporary objectives that a person chooses are those needed for the main objective, the survival of the species.
A few hundred years ago, the relation of sub-objectives with survival was obvious. A person worked all the waking hours of the day, just to survive. Today we do not need to work as much for our survival and have a lot of free time. In principle we could choose any objective during this free time. However, we still observe that most of the objectives that are chosen are connected to survival in some way.
Generally we obtain most of our objectives with relative ease. But even so, there are always some objectives which we have not momentarily attained. It is interesting to observe that the attention of an individual is always centered on the one objective that it has not attained: it forgets all other objectives.
In the far future most human objectives may no longer be survival based. Given this, it may very well be that this allows the human species to become extinct.
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