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The Better Angels of Our Nature vs. the Internet

For 99 percent of the past several hundred thousand years of hominid development, our brains were evolving in social settings consisting of small (ten to thirty), mostly kin groups of hunter-gatherers. One great benefit of this arrangement is that it fostered altruism: as E.O. Wilson argues persuasively (The Social Conquest of Earth, 2012), a selfish person will always out-compete an altruist, but a group of altruists will always out-compete a group of selfish people. Those groups that cooperated in the hunt and shared the roasted zebra around the campfire prospered, while those who fought over the spoils of the day were eliminated from the gene pool.

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